Boris Johnson urges parents to send kids to school

Britain hopes to provide "tens of millions" of vaccinations over the next three months, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday (December 3) as the UK faces record levels of cases of COVID-19 that are rising - fueled by a new and more transmissible variant of the virus.

That's forced Johnson's government to cancel the planned reopening of schools in and around the capital London and there are calls from teaching unions for wider closures.

But speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, the prime minister urged parents to send their children to school in areas where rules allow it.

"Schools are safe, very very important to stress that. The threat to, the risk to kids, to young people, is really very very very small indeed as the scientists continually attest, the risk to staff is very small."

Johnson said the UK will have 530,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ready to administer on Monday (January 4) but he also warned that the government might need to consider tightening lockdown restrictions.

He declined to give examples of what that might look like.

Britain recorded 57,725 new cases of the virus on Saturday (December 2), and with more than 74,000 deaths so far during the pandemic, the government's response has been heavily criticized.