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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the reopening of gyms in July. He said: “The reopening of gyms is the news millions across the country have been waiting for, with many people desperate to jump on a spinning bike or dive into a pool. Our comprehensive guidance will ensure gyms, pools and leisure centres have the support they need to reopen safely for their customers and staff. Helping people return to gyms safely will also help the nation get match-fit to defeat the virus.”
Will gyms close again?
Although there has been no confirmation of gyms closing again, some of the UK’s top scientists say some coronavirus measures have to be sacrificed to ensure the safe reopening of schools.
Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, warned on Friday that trade-offs may have to be made for all schools to open.
He said the country has “probably reached near the limit or the limits” of what can be done to reopen society.
This means that although unconfirmed, gyms could be one of the trades made for schools to open again in the autumn.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said getting children back in the classroom is a “national priority”.
One member of SAGE, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, suggested one trade-off could be closing pubs again.
Mr Ashworth warned of the “long term impact of children not being in school for months and months and months”.
He said: “It impacts their life chances, it impact their learning and development, but also it’s probably leading to lots of long-term health problems as well not connected to the virus.”
Mr Ashworth urged the Government to use the next four weeks “wisely” to ensure schools can safely reopen in time for September.
He said: “We’ve got to get our children back into school but that’s why it makes it even more pressing that we use this virus and prepare for the autumn.”
Professor Graham Medley, a member of SAGE in England, also backed the idea of closing one kind of business to make way for schools.
When asked about Professor Whitty’s comments, Professor Medley said: “I think that’s quite possible.
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“I think we are in a situation whereby most people think that opening schools is a priority for the health and wellbeing of children and that when we do that we are going to reconnect lots of households.”
He added: “It might come down to a question of which do you trade off against each other and then that’s a matter of prioritising, do we think pubs are more important than schools?”
On Saturday afternoon, the Government said a total of 46,193 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the general community from coronavirus – a rise of 74 in 24 hours.
In the 24 hours to 9am on Saturday morning, confirmed cases rose from 771 to 303,952.
The data has spurred increasing fears that a second wave could hit the UK, with SAGE warning it “does not have confidence” in the R Rate remaining below 1 in England.
The R Rate is used to define how many people on average that one infected person can pass the virus onto.
The latest estimates put the R number at between 0.8 and 0.9, however, this refers to coronavirus transmission from several weeks ago.
Some local lockdowns have been imposed in parts of England, including areas of Liverpool and West Yorkshire.
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