Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has dismissed reports that UK schools could reopen as early as 11 May as ‘not true’, saying no decision has been made on the issue.
A Sunday Times report said schools could reopen as early as 11 May as part of an exit plan from the current Coronavirus lockdown restrictions, which have now been in place in the UK for nearly a month.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Gove said the government will make a ‘balanced judgement’ when deciding how to relax lockdown restrictions, adding that the government is taking “a deliberately cautious and measured approach guided by the science”.
The UK government is yet to provide a clear exit plan as to how and when the lockdown restrictions may be lifted, despite growing calls for it to do so. This week, lockdown restrictions were extended in the UK for at least another three weeks. Speaking to BBC, Mr Gove said;
“When we have the information, when we have the data that allows us confidently to relax those restrictions we will do so, but that data, that information, is not yet in place.”
This week, the government did set out a list of five factors that it says it “must be satisfied of” before considering changes to the lockdown, including;
- Confidence that the NHS can continue to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment across the UK.
- There needing to be a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate to be confident we are beyond the peak.
- There to be reliable data from SAGE that the infection rate has decreased to manageable levels.
- That the testing capacity and PPE is in hand to meet supply for future demand.
- There not being a risk of a second peak of infection that overwhelms the NHS.
According to the latest figures, 15,464 people have died in UK hospitals after contracting the COVID-19 Coronavirus.