Children are more likely to be harmed by not returning to school next month than if they catch coronavirus, the chief medical adviser says.
Prof Chris Whitty said “the chances of children dying from Covid-19 are incredibly small” – but missing lessons “damages children in the long run”.
Millions of pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are due to return to school within weeks.
Prof Whitty also said Covid-19 would be a challenge for at least nine months.
He said it was unlikely there would be a vaccine in 2020 but there was a “reasonable chance” of a successful jab being ready for the following winter in 2021-22.