Schools could reopen after half-term in Wales as lockdown is extended for three weeks

PRIMARY schools in Wales will reopen after half-term if coronavirus rates continue to fall – as the country's lockdown is extended for three weeks.

First Minister Mark Drakeford will today extend their lockdown for another three weeks to "allow the NHS to recover".

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But his announcement could bring a boost for parents as primary schools could to reopen after the February half-term if coronavirus rates continue to fall.

This would be two weeks before children in England could see a return to school after Boris Johnson said kids won't be back in class until at least March 8.

Campaigners and MPs hit out at Mr Johnson’s decision to delay reopening schools – warning of a disaster for kids’ education.

Children in England have already missed more than 112 school days out of a possible 191 since last March’s first Covid lockdown.

But the Prime Minister scrapped plans to get them back to class after the February half-term, with March 8 now the earliest return date instead.

He added that the country “would want them open in a cautious and sensible way”.

Explaining the need for an extended lockdown, the Welsh Government said the Covid-19 situation is “improving” but another three weeks of Level 4 restrictions are needed to “allow the NHS to recover”.

The Welsh Government said there could be a “phased and flexible return to school after February 22 if the public health situation continues to improve”.

A statement said: “Rates of coronavirus across Wales have fallen below 200 cases per 100,000 people for the first time since early November.

“And every day, thousands more people receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine – the latest figures show almost 11% of the population have been vaccinated.”

Authorities review the situation every 21 days, and on Wednesday chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton said a Wales-wide easing of lockdown restrictions is unlikely until the end of February at the earliest.

The reproduction R value for the virus on Wednesday was said to be between 0.7 and 0.9, while figures from Public Health Wales showed that the country’s seven-day case rate stood at 204 cases per 100,000 people, down from 270 cases per 100,000 on Friday.

 

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