Coronavirus: North-west England schools delay reopening
Jun. 06, 2020
Many schools in north-west England will delay reopening at least until 22 June over concerns the coronavirus infection rate is on the rise.
Schools in Blackburn said they would not reopen on Monday, as the government has urged, while Tameside Council "strongly" advised schools not to do so.
Wirral Council has also urged schools to "pause" reopening plans.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said "there is a challenge" in the region.
Some scientists say the R number is creeping up across the country and may have surpassed one - the point at which the epidemic takes off again - in the region.
'Health services stretched'
Data from Public Health England, released on Friday, gave an R value of 1.01 for the North West and 1.0 for the South West, with all other regions below 1.
If the R is one or higher, the virus will spread exponentially through the population, while a value less than one indicates the virus is in decline.
Colin Cox, director of public health in Cumbria, also warned on Friday people should not be "complacent" and lockdown restrictions could be tightened if the number continues to rise.
Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, Tameside council's public health director, has written to all head teachers "to strongly advise them to delay the wider reopening until there is further assurance that the Covid 19 infection rate is reducing," the authority has said.
In a statement, the authority said: "This follows new data published [on Friday] showing that the regional R rate has risen above 1 as well as local information that infection rates remain higher and health services are stretched."
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