More than 100 schools in Hertfordshire reported at least one case of coronavirus in the two weeks before they broke up for Christmas, a council has said.

Hertfordshire County Council confirmed 147 schools reported a Covid-19 case between December 5 and December 18.

The county council is responsible for 533, although it is unclear if the figure of 147 includes private schools.

The council has been asked to confirm whether this is the case and if there was any period in 2020 where a higher number was reported.

It comes as the more infectious strain of coronavirus continues to spread, with Hertfordshire recording a rate of 904.1 cases per 100,000 population in the seven days to January 4.

Announcing the lockdown on Monday, January 4, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the country to stay indoors other than for limited exceptions and bowed to significant pressure to order primary schools, secondaries and colleges to move to remote teaching. 

They will remain open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.

Mr Johnson said schools may “act as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households”.

Hertfordshire County Council figures show 1,103 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in people aged between 10-19 across the county between December 5 and December 18.

Speaking in a Covid-19 press conference on Wednesday, Hertfordshire’s director of public health Jim McManus said: “The overwhelming majority of children do not get seriously ill, but it's the fact that they have been a vector of the infection to older people.

“Schools should be the last to close and the first to open and that is the kind of principle we want to work to and one of the things we do in Hertfordshire is work with local heads wherever possible, which is why we have set up a dedicated schools team that has both public health people and schools people and a couple of head teachers on it as well.”