Latest updates: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says he is seeking urgent clarification on school closures; Covid cases surge in Tokyo

8.58am GMT

The British public is being urged to “take personal responsibility” by acting like they have coronavirus and staying at home this New Year’s Eve.

People are being warned they should not be mixing with other households indoors and that they should avoid large gatherings of any kind.

With our NHS under pressure we must all take personal responsibility this New Year’s Eve and stay at home.

I know how much we have all sacrificed this year and we cannot let up. Over 600,000 people have now been vaccinated and we are close to beating this virus.

8.27am GMT

In England, the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, outlined some of the reasoning behind the government’s plans for reopening a proportion of primary schools.

The government has faced criticism on Wednesday evening for the plan and was left red-faced when the London borough of Redbridge, which has the seventh highest case rate in England, was left off the list and then later added.

NEW: Govt admit error in primary school closure list sent out in press notice earlier.

Redbridge IS now included in the London boroughs where primary schools must switch to remote learning.

DFE source say the error was made by the DHSC who compiled the list

The work that was done with the Department of Health, who identified areas where it was either a very high rate or, using their latest data, were seeing very sharp increases in the number of cases or equally the pressures on hospitals in that area and the clinical needs.

These were all the considerations that were taken into account but what I want to say, and this will come as no surprise to you whatsoever, I want to see schools, any school, that’s closed for those first two weeks, opening at the earliest possible opportunity.

I think we all recognise that if we go back a few weeks where there was no new variant of Covid, none of us would have been expecting us to be having to take the actions, whether it’s in regards to schools, whether it’s in regards to tier 4 moves that the government has had to make, but it’s the government that’s having to respond at incredible pace to a global pandemic and then a new variant of that virus.

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