The Prime Minister said “it will not be possible to reopen schools after the February half term,” with the hope to bring pupils back from March 8.
Boris Johnson also told MPs that UK nationals and residents returning from “red list” countries will be placed in a 10-day quarantine in government-secured accommodation, such as hotels.
He explained in the House of Commons on Wednesday: “Our aim will be to start a gradual phased approach towards easing the restrictions in a sustainable way guided by the principles we’ve observed throughout the pandemic, beginning with the most important principle of all that reopening schools must be a national priority.”
He added: “It will not be possible to reopen schools after the February half term.”
“I can confirm that the government will prolong arrangements for providing free school meals for those eligible children not in school, including food parcels and the national voucher scheme, until they returned to the classroom.”
This comes after COVID-19 deaths surpassed 100,000 on Tuesday.
Mr Johnson also outlined new measures for travellers to the UK.
He said: “I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government provided accommodation, such as hotels for 10 days without exception, they will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine. The Department of Health Care is working to establish facilities as quickly as possible.”
“We will not persist for a day longer than is necessary, but nor can we relax, too soon. Because if we do, we run the risk of our NHS coming under still greater pressure compelling us to reimpose every restriction and sustain those restrictions for longer.”
“We remain in a perilous situation with more than 37,000 patients now in hospital with COVID, almost double the peak of the first wave.”
Travellers will have to pay to isolate in a monitored hotel, with COVID tests during their stay, according to Sky News.