LONDON (AP) — Britain’s prime minister is asking parents to set aside their fears and send their children back to school next month when the nation’s schools fully reopen for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic shut then down more than five months ago.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was the government’s "moral duty’’ to reopen the schools as he stressed that authorities now know more about COVID-19 than they did when the country went into lockdown on March 23.

Johnson’s comments came hours after Britain’s top public health officials issued a joint statement saying that children were more likely to be harmed by staying away from school than from being exposed to COVID-19.

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