Cases are surging above 45,000 a day with school children worst hit – but the head of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health blasted the twice-a-week testing system for secondary pupils
Mass Covid testing in schools is causing “unnecessary chaos” and should be stopped, an expert has said.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s president, Dr Camilla Kingdon, said children should not have to “carry the burden” of the pandemic.
She criticised the current system in secondary schools where students are told to take lateral flow tests twice a week.
“You are asking completely healthy children to test, with the potential to be excluded (from school), there is just a real concern that we are increasing a level of chaos into the system that is unnecessary,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
It comes despite Covid cases soaring to above 45,000 a day – with many driven by school pupils.
Estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed around one in 10 schoolchildren in Years 7 to 11 in England was estimated to have Covid last week – the highest positivity rate for any age group.
While deaths are much lower than before the vaccine was widespread, there were 852 UK deaths and 5,559 patients admitted to hospital in the last week.
Walk-in vaccine centres will reportedly be unveiled for children aged 12 to 15 within weeks amid concern they are getting the jab too slowly.
As of October 10, 1.1million under-18s had received their first dose in England, out of an estimated 3.9million people aged 12 to 17.
Schools have a list of backup measures they can use if the virus surges, including telling pupils to wear masks in class or rolling out extra testing.
Government data up to October 16 shows that of the 94,756,683 Covid jabs given in the UK, 49,398,211 were first doses, a rise of 23,706 on the previous day.
Some 45,358,472 were second doses, an increase of 32,983.
The Government also said a further 57 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday, bringing the UK total to 138,584.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 163,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
As of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 45,140 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK, the Government’s dashboard said.