Mass Covid testing in schools is causing “unnecessary chaos” and should be stopped, an expert has said.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s president, Dr Camilla Kingdon, told The Daily Telegraph that children should not have to “carry the burden” of the pandemic.
She criticised the current system in secondary schools where students are told to take lateral flow tests twice a week.
“You are asking completely healthy children to test, with the potential to be excluded (from school), there is just a real concern that we are increasing a level of chaos into the system that is unnecessary,” she said.
Schools have started increasing measures to curb the spread of the virus after a rise in infections, despite being told by ministers that they are no longer needed.
On Friday, data showed Covid infection levels in England are getting close to the peak seen at the height of the second wave and are mostly being driven by rates among schoolchildren.
Estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that around one in 10 schoolchildren in Years 7 to 11 in England was estimated to have Covid last week – the highest positivity rate for any age group.
While infection levels in England are high, they are not leading to the same level of hospital admissions and deaths as during the second peak thanks to the success of the vaccination campaign.
Government data up to October 16 shows that of the 94,756,683 Covid jabs given in the UK, 49,398,211 were first doses, a rise of 23,706 on the previous day.
Some 45,358,472 were second doses, an increase of 32,983.
The Government also said a further 57 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday, bringing the UK total to 138,584.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 163,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
As of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 45,140 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK, the Government’s dashboard said.