- France has registered 70 new cases of new coronavirus in schools that were allowed to reopen last week, the country’s education minister said on Monday.
- After two months of closure, France has started to lift restrictions, in particular the reopening of certain stores, nursery schools and elementary schools with increased social distancing.
- The minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, declared on French radio RTL that the new cases were “inevitable”.
- He described the number as a very small proportion of the 1.4 million schoolchildren who returned to close.
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France has registered 70 new cases of COVID-19 in schools that were allowed to reopen last week, the country’s education minister said on Monday.
France closed its schools and higher education establishments from March 17 as part of the country’s measures to contain the country’s coronavirus epidemic.
France had registered more than 180,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 28,000 deaths as of May 18.
After two months of closure, France has started to lift restrictions, including the reopening of certain stores and nursery and elementary schools.
According to France24, classes have been limited to 10 pupils for nursery schools and 15 pupils for other age groups.
Despite social distancing in the classroom, some children have contracted the disease.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on French radio RTL on Monday that 70 new cases of COVID-19 had been detected in the week since the students returned, which he said was “inevitable” .
“It is inevitable that this kind of thing will happen,” he said. “In almost all cases, this [transmission] arrived outside of school. “
Blanquer noted that the 70 cases were a small proportion of the 1.4 million schoolchildren who returned. He said the affected schools would be closed immediately.
France is one of several European countries, including Germany, Denmark, Norway, the Czech Republic and Poland, which have started to lift the foreclosure measures, although many have warned that the process would be slow and closely monitored .
Denmark became the first European country to reopen schools last month, which has prompted parents to fear that their children will be used as “guinea pigs” to test government policies.
Yet European officials have downplayed the risks of sending children back to school, saying the alternative would be more detrimental to students in the long run.
“There will be terrible damage if we lose a generation of children who have been prevented from going to school for several months,” said Blanquer, according to The Guardian.
Blaženka Divjak, the Minister of Education of Croatia, said at a press conference on Monday that there has been no significant increase in the number of cases since European schools opened.
“So far, we have heard nothing negative about the reopening of the schools, but it is probably too early to have definitive conclusions on this,” she said.