Experts warn of ‘mass infection’ in England’s schools
London, Sep 3 (EFE).- A group of international scientists, as well as members of the education community in the United Kingdom, published an open letter in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Friday demanding that the British government take action to avoid a large outbreak among children when schools reopen in England.
The approximately 30 signatories to the letter, from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, India and Norway, warn that the prevalence of coronavirus cases in England is 26 times higher than when the 2020 school year began and that the dominant delta variant is more contagious than previous ones.
“The lack of adequate mitigations will likely lead to infections spreading among children and significant absences due to student and staff illness, further disrupting learning,” warned the scientists, who directed their criticism at British Minister of Education, Gavin Williamson.
While acknowledging “the importance of schools staying open over the autumn and in the longer term”, they warn that the measures adopted by the government, which they see as insufficient, put “everyone at risk”.
To minimize infections, they urged the government to offer coronavirus vaccines to children between 12 and 15 years of age.
But on Friday afternoon, a team of government experts did not recommend that the vaccines be administered to healthy children, adding that only those with underlying health issues should be given jabs.
The scientists also demand the reintroduction of mandatory facemasks for high school students and teachers in classrooms and common areas, as well as more investment in ventilation systems.
The education minister told the BBC this week that children will be able to benefit from a “more normal school experience” this year, and defended the mass testing system his department has introduced as a “sensible” solution.
But the British Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has warned that it is very likely that by the end of September there will be high levels of Covid-19 infections in English schools. EFE