Fears of virus risk to grandparents offering emergency childcare

School closures could force parents to call on older relatives for help – perhaps exposing them to infection

Grandparents are expected to come under pressure to step in to provide childcare if schools shut as a result of the coronavirus, but this could increase their already heightened risk of contracting the illness.

Boris Johnson last week played down the prospect of widespread school closures, saying they should stay open “if possible”. But Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, has warned that in the event of a major epidemic, schools may have to shut – and if they do it will be “for quite a long period of time, probably more than two months”.

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