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Masks to return in England's secondary school classrooms

London, Jan 3 (IANS) Secondary school students in England are once again being asked to wear masks in classrooms as the Omicron Covid-19 variant continues to spread in the UK ahead of children's return to school next week.

The recommendation came as the government pledges to keep face-to-face education going despite surging Covid-19 infections in England, reports Xinhua news agency.

Masks will "maximise the number of children in school" for the "maximum amount of time", said the government, stressing the "temporary" guidance for schools and colleges will be reviewed on January 26 when Plan B regulations, which involve guidance to work from home and mandatory face masks in most public indoor venues among others, are scheduled to expire.

Britain reported another 137,583 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 13,309,651, according to official figures.

The country also reported a 73 more fatalities, taking the national death toll to 149,324.

More than 90 per cent of people aged 12 and over in Britain have had their first vaccine dose, and over 82 per cent were fully vaccinated, according to the latest figures.

Some 59 per cent have received a booster dose.