Covid live: No 10 denies Boris Johnson and wife Carrie broke rules over Christmas; concern over low jab uptake among English teenagers

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Downing Street denies UK PM and wife broke Covid rules over Christmas

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Today so far

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Vaccine take-up among 12- to 15-year-olds below 10% in third of English local authorities

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EU has exported over 1bn vaccine doses worldwide – von der Leyen

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Thousands of students in New South Wales, Australia, put on uniforms and packed their lunches for the first time in months on Monday, as kindergarten, year 1 and year 12 students returned to face-to-face learning.

Although the return to classrooms is a welcome change for parents and teachers, there are concerns that younger children will face social challenges heading back.

“I’ve noticed [five-year-old Jack] has become attached to me so I’m concerned to see how it goes the next few days,” parent Nicole Kastner said. “He has been by my side for the last three-and-a-half months.”

With only two months left of the school year, she said her focus would be on getting him into the rhythm of school again and out meeting friends. “We’re excited … we’re excited to go back to the new normal. It’s a fresh leaf, a new chapter,” she said.

Schools will look a bit different. Masks are now mandatory for high school students, and are recommended for primary school children. Teachers have been asked to keep the windows open for ventilation, but some classrooms have locked windows, and some worry about what will happen in summer when the temperatures soar.

Kastner runs Australian school mums, a Facebook group with 5,000+ members, and says a lot of parents are confused about masks and concerned private schools in the state will get air purifiers while other schools may miss out.

Read more of Cait Kelly’s report here: Nerves as NSW children head back to school, after months of Covid lockdown

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Russia sets another new daily Covid case record

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