Will schools close in the delay phase of Coronavirus? Latest government advice
12 March 2020, 17:02 | Updated: 12 March 2020, 17:06
Boris Johnson chaired an emergency COBRA meeting today, where the next course of action for Coronavirus response was decided - here's what that may mean for school closures.
Coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday, and there are now a total of 560 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the UK, with 10 having died from the illness.
Many countries - such as Italy and The Republic of Ireland - have made the decision to shut down schools amid growing concern about the spread of the virus, and many have been questioning whether the UK will to the same.
Boris Johnson is expected to give a press conference about the emergency COBRA meeting that took place today (12 March), and it is predicted that we will now enter the 'delay' phase of Coronavirus response.
Here is what is expected to be said regarding school closures.
Will schools close?
Boris Johnson confirmed today that schools will not close.
He said: "We are not, repeat not, closing schools now. But this may change as the disease spreads.
"Schools should only close if they are specifically advised to do so."
School trips abroad, however, have been advised against by the government.
First minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said today that there aren't yet immediately plans to close schools in Scotland.
She said that closing schools would "very direct affect on ability to keep key workers at work".
Sturgeon also added that: "If it gets to a stage where the advice is to close schools, this will not be for a week or two weeks.
"This would be something that was advised to last throughout the peak of this infection and that is potentially until the summer period."
What is the delay phase?
The delay phase is the second part of the government's four-step response to delaying Coronavirus.
It would come after 'contain' - phase one - which was efforts to contain the virus by keeping track of those infected.
However, as cases of Coronavirus increase, the government is looking into the delay phase.
The government descries the delay phase as: “Delay: slow the spread in this country, if it does take hold, lowering the peak impact and pushing it away from the winter season.”