Poorer families will struggle to afford to wash their children's school clothes everyday to fight the coronavirus, a senior GP has said.

Dr Anand Rischie has urged schools to be more lenient with their uniform policies so children from low-income families are not unfairly penalised.

The coronavirus can live on clothes for as long as 72 hours, research has shown, Birmingham Mail reported.

In a bid to stop its spread parents have been asked to wash their children's clothes more frequently.

Dr Rischie, chairman of Walsall clinical commissioning group, said many people in the Midlands town would struggle to pay for trips to the laundrett.

The doctor warned washing clothes daily could be a financial struggle for some parents
The doctor warned washing clothes daily could be a financial struggle for some parents

He told a meeting of Walsall Council's local outbreak engagement board that schools should be told to be more tolerant of children wearing non-uniform clothing.

Dr Rischie said: "I'm very much worried that if clothes need washing everyday, Walsall is a very poor borough.

"Parents will not be able to run their washing machines every day for those uniforms to be cleaned.

"Is there something that we can recommend that schools should be tolerant about kids not attending in school uniform?

"I understand that national guidance is that they should be but locally, if every parent is running a washing machine every evening to wash clothes, it is not practical."

Schools have been asked to take additional measures to stop the spread of the virus (stock photo)

The GP said that many of the people in his borough go to the laundrettes, which made clothes washing difficult.

"We live in a very poor borough, we have got patients who actually go to the laundrette and they will have to go there every day," Dr Rischie said.

"At this moment in time we do not know how long it takes for coronavirus to degrade so washing clothes is key.

"But if they are going in their regular clothes, they can be washed on the weekend. It's common sense and locally if we can advise that of schools, we should be recommending that."

School leaders have been asked to implement a number of different measures with children returning to classrooms to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Break times will be staggered and regular handwashing encouraged.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland face coverings are mandatory in communal areas and hallways.

In England, the government made a u-turn last week when it decided masks should be mandatory in secondary schools.

However, the rule applies only in regions where lockdown measures are in place due to an increase in local cases.