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Mayor urges UK PM to close London’s secondary schools, colleges before Christmas

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

London, England | THE INDEPENDENT |   London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called on the British government to consider shutting all secondary schools and colleges in London early before Christmas, following a surge of new COVID-19 cases in the capital city of Britain.

In a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Khan said lessons should move on line now and schools should reopen later in January.

He said the increasing cases in London “deeply concerning” and there has been “significant outbreaks among 10 to 19-year-olds”.

“The (British) government must consider asking schools and colleges to close early and re-open later in January, with extra resource provided to support online learning,” he said in the letter.

“Face coverings should also be made mandatory in busy outdoor public spaces, given the numbers on our high streets in the run up to Christmas,” he added.

The London borough of Greenwich has become the first in England to ask all schools to move learning online from Tuesday amid rising COVID-19 cases, the BBC reported.

From Dec. 2 to Dec. 8, 2020, 20,135 people had tested positive in London, a rate of 225 cases per 100,000 population, compared with 14,901 cases and a rate of 166 cases per 100,000 for the previous week, according to the latest official figures.

To bring life back to normal, countries including Britain, China, Germany, Russia, and the United States are racing against time to find a vaccine.

Meanwhile, the Downing Street said Monday that it expects all schools and colleges in England to remain open until the end of term.

A British prime minister’s official spokesman said that not being in school has a detrimental impact on learning and other areas of pupils’ development.

He added that regional school commissioner teams are working closely with local authorities to help them to keep schools open and keep pupils and staff safe.

Also on Monday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said London will move into Tier Three, the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, from midnight on Wednesday.

England is currently under a new three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions. The system, which put about 98 percent of England into the highest Tier Two and Three, is due to be reviewed on Dec. 16.

In Tier Three areas, all pubs, bars and restaurants must close except for delivery, takeaway and drive-through. Hotels and indoor entertainment venues must also close in these areas.

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