Parents have been warned not to bring their children to school with Covid-19 as virus rates skyrocket.
Nadhim Zahawi revealed that around 200,000 children are currently out of school due to Covid-19.
The education secretary admitted that the numbers had “increased” because infection rates are high.
Covid-19 cases skyrocketed by a million in a week, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
When asked if parents who are worried about their children’s recovery should send them to school with Covid-19, Zahawi replied, “If your child has Covid, no, they shouldn’t send them to school.”
Zahawi told the BBC’s Sunday Morning program that people had been “very good” at exercising common sense.
It comes after children across the UK missed months of work due to school closures during the pandemic.
Zahawi vowed to do everything he could to make sure the UK didn’t have to close schools again.
The cabinet minister will present a White Paper this week outlining measures to tackle the educational deficit caused by the pandemic. It is said to include a longer school week and higher targets in math and English.
Zahawi also did not rule out more testing in schools, saying the government would have more to say about testing on April 1 when universal free provision ends in England.
And he added: “It is not over, the virus is still with us. We just have to be careful.”
However, Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson said Zahawi was “in denial” about the level of infections in schools.
She said: “This government has let down and abandoned our children over and over again in the last two years and history seems doomed to repeat itself. It is clear that they do not have a plan to deal with the increasing number of infections and absences.”
It comes amid new concerns about summer exams for those students who contract covid.
The number of Covid-19 infections soared to 4.26 million in the seven days to March 19, according to published figures. They rose 29.7 percent from the previous week.
This is just down from 4.3 million in the first week of 2022, which was the highest total since estimates began.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, top medical adviser to US President Joe Biden, said the world “needs to be vigilant” as to whether the new Omicron BA.2 variant is causing a surge in hospital admissions.
Asked about future restrictions, Fauci told the BBC: “I don’t want to use the word lockdown because it has an element loaded, but I think we need to keep an eye on the pattern of what we’re seeing with infections. now.
“We need to be prepared for the possibility that another variant comes along and then things change and if we get a variation that gives us an increase in cases and hospitalization, we need to be prepared and flexible enough to pivot. towards going back, at least temporarily, to more rigid types of restrictions, such as requiring masks indoors.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.