Thousands of Staffordshire residents have signed a petition calling for schools to be closed in a bid to tackle coronavirus.
In a press conference today Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was not currently shutting schools in a bid to tackle Covid-19.
As of 6.30pm this evening, Thursday March 12, there are a total of 374,903 signatures on a petition on Parliament’s website.
In Stoke-on-Trent these included 395 people in the Stoke-on-Trent North parliamentary constituency, 443 in Stoke-on-Trent Central and 319 in Stoke-on-Trent South.
It has been also signed a total of 272 times in Newcastle-under-Lyme, 171 in the Staffordshire Moorlands, 169 in Stone and 320 in Stafford.
The petition states: “We would like the government to at least consider closing schools/colleges down in the coming weeks or as soon as possible, in addition to taking necessary actions to prevent further spread.
“We would like the Government or Parliament to enforce this action due to the growing fear among parents and students that attend school.
“The ability to focus or concentrate is affected in addition to the growing fears of the Corona-virus. In our view, the government and health officials around the world are more ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive’.
“This will result in more spread as time is given for the virus to do so. We hope to come to an agreement as soon as possible in a timely manner.”
The Republic of Ireland today closed all schools in the country for at least two weeks.
However Mr Johnson said UK schools are not being closed at this time because the move could make matters worse.
“We are not, repeat not, closing schools now,” he said.
“The scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time but of course we are keeping this under review and this again may change as the disease spreads.”
He added schools should only shut if they were specifically advised to do so.
The count of confirmed cases in Staffordshire remains at four, Staffordshire County Council have confirmed this evening.
No cases are currently confirmed in Stoke-on-Trent – with the UK total rising to 590 today.