Closing schools has 'marginal impact' on Covid transmission, insists Education Committee chair

3 January 2021, 10:25 | Updated: 3 January 2021, 11:23

By Seán Hickey

The chair of the Education Select Committee claims that the risk to children from Covid-19 is low and closing schools has little effect on transmission rates.

Robert Halfon MP told Andrew Castle that "the advice from the Chief Medical Officer and deputy Chief Medical Officer up until very very recently has been that the risks to children are low."

His claims came as pressure mounts on the Government to move teaching online as coronavirus cases surge in the UK.

Mr Halfon went on: "School closures have a marginal effect on transmission rates, that the new Covid strain...is no more debilitating to children thank goodness."

He added that as per the information he has access to, teachers were at no greater risk of contracting the virus than any other profession.

Andrew confronted the Education Select Committee chair: "Do you actually believe that now when you see the numbers going up?"

Read More: Pressure mounts on Government to keep all schools closed

Mr Halfon insisted that he can only comment on the information he has seen from the Government's science advisors, adding that he would "be very interested to see if that advice has changed from the Chief Medical Officer."

He told Andrew that a possible solution would to increase the capacity of mobile testing nationwide to catch the virus quicker and implement self isolation more intensively.

Andrew said that this strategy is "putting out little fires everywhere" adding that he is not surprised that the Government is coming under scrutiny.

Mr Halfon stood his ground, telling LBC that Government must consider the knock-on effect of closing schools, such as parents being unable to work.

"When you make these decisions you have to consider all these things."

Read More: Covid-19 crisis in numbers: LBC brings you the stats you need to know

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