Minister insists lockdown easing ‘is not a dash’ as health officials voice fears

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A Cabinet minister has insisted the lockdown is being eased in a “very cautious” way as children in England begin returning to school, despite public health officials warning against the relaxation.

Business secretary Alok Sharma said he understands parents’ concerns over sending their children back to class on Monday, but added that the government had not undertaken a “dash” to re-start the economy.

The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) warned that experts were “increasingly concerned” that ministers are making the wrong judgment by easing restrictions too quickly.

Alok Sharma
Alok Sharma (Aaron Chown/PA)

Parents seemingly share their concerns, with a survey suggesting 46% of families plan to keep pupils at home as classes open to children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in England.

Sharma told BBC Breakfast: “This is not a dash. These are very cautious steps that we are taking. They are phased.”

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Classrooms are reopening in England as social restrictions across are eased to allow people to have limited contact with friends and family outdoors.

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