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Covid: Liverpool City Council rules out extra half-term week for schools

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image captionAlmost 500 teaching staff and 8,000 pupils are currently self-isolating

Liverpool City Council has ruled out a two-week half-term break for schools as part of its "battle with Covid-19".

The authority had considered the move after the city's mayor Joe Anderson said teachers were under "huge pressure" due to almost 500 teaching staff and 8,000 pupils self-isolating.

The Labour mayor said he would "clearly monitor" the situation.

The top tier of the government's new system of coronavirus restrictions came into force in the city on Wednesday.

Mr Anderson said he would "reserve the right to look at schools and I've told government that".

He added that the city had "a month to try and bring this virus down", otherwise restrictions would continue into a second month.

Latest government figures showed Liverpool had the third highest number of infections in England with 670 cases per 100,000 of population in the week up to 12 October.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said almost 900 positive cases have been reported among staff and students in Liverpool schools since September and current attendance rate is 77%.

The decision on schools came as the city's arts organisation asked audiences to continue to visit, despite the tighter restrictions.

In a joint statement from a number of venues, including Tate Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool, and the Everyman and Playhouse theatres, a spokesman said measures had been introduced to protect visitors, such as "enhanced cleaning regimes, one-way routes and socially-distanced seating", and ensure the city could still offer "a quality programme that befits a European Capital of Culture".

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