• Union: Convince us that classes are safe • New warning over spread of the virus

Government plans to reopen all schools in September were called into question by leading scientists and the head of a major teaching union last night amid signs that cases of Covid-19 are increasing again at an alarming rate.

Despite imposing new restrictions on people meeting indoors in parts of the north of England on Thursday – and postponing plans to allow bowling alleys, casinos, skating rinks and other venues to reopen a day later – ministers insist that reopening schools fully early next month remains a top priority.

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