UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his daily coronavirus update on Wednesday (March 18) that the country needed to apply downward pressure on the upward curve by closing schools from this Friday.
He stressed they would find a way to ensure young people still received the qualifications they need, but that scheduled exams for this summer will be canceled.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING:
"After schools shut their gates from Friday afternoon, they will remain closed for most pupils, the vast majority of pupils, until further notice. And of course, this does mean that exams will not take place as planned in May and June, though, we will make sure that pupils get the qualifications they need and deserve for their academic career. We believe the steps we've already taken, together with those I'm announcing today, are already slowing the spread of the disease. But we will not hesitate to go further and faster in the days and weeks ahead, and we will do whatever it takes so that we beat it together."
Nurseries and private schools will be asked to do the same and all educational institutions will be financially supported and reimbursed as needed.
The UK government's chief scientific adviser added that school closures is about protecting all of us, not because of a specific risk to children.
And Johnson went on to say that he would not rule out taking further and faster measures to battle the disease.