The study, the largest carried out on schoolchildren and teachers in Germany, found traces of the virus in fewer than 1 per cent of teachers and children.

Scientists from Dresden Technical University said they believe children may act as a “brake” on chains of infection.

Prof Reinhard Berner, the head of pediatric medicine at Dresden University Hospital and leader of the study, said the results suggested the virus does not spread easily in schools.

“It is rather the opposite,” Prof Berner told a press conference. “Children act more as a brake on infection. Not every infection that reaches them is passed on.”

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