Thursday 19 March 2020 4:56 AM UTC
LONDON March 19: Schools in England will close from Friday until further notice for all pupils except children of key workers and the most vulnerable.
Boris Johnson and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the measures would apply for all pupils except children of key workers and the most vulnerable.
It comes after NHS England announced an increase of 32 deaths in England on Wednesday evening.
The number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK hit 2,626 earlier – the biggest single day jump in cases since the outbreak began.
Earlier, it was announced that Scotland and Wales would be closing all schools by Friday because of coronavirus.
The Welsh government said all schools will close for an early Easter break by Friday at the latest, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scottish schools will also close by the end of the week.
Mr Johnson’s government had resisted calls to close schools, because NHS workers would be among those who may need to stay home and look after their children.
But teachers, head teachers and unions have warned that many schools are so short-staffed that they are struggling to remain open.
The NASUWT, which represents teachers and headteachers, has warned of a “rising sense” of panic in the education sector over COVID-19 and said on Tuesday a lack of advice was creating “chaos and confusion”.
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