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18 March 2020

Daily briefing with Boris Johnson, Jenny Harries, Patrick Vallance – school closures for majority of children


In the key points of his speech, Prime Minister Boris Johnson emphasises the importance of following social distancing measures and describes scientific advice that closing schools is a trade-off. So far, he says, the judgement has been that closing schools is of limited value. But now this has changed: 'So looking at the curve of the disease and looking at where we are now – we think now that we must apply downward pressure, further downward pressure on that upward curve by closing the schools.' Schools will stay open for children of key workers, such as NHS staff. Johnson recognises that this will make it harder for people to go to work, which is 'one of the reasons we haven’t wanted to go ahead and that’s why we are working now on further measures to ensure that we support not just businesses but also individuals and their families to keep our economy going'. He states that the measures taken so far are working, but that the government may need to go further in the future: 'We believe the steps we have already taken, together with those I am announcing today, are already slowing the spread of the disease. But we will not hesitate to go further, and faster, in the days and weeks ahead.'


Gov.uk speech