France sees 70 cases of coronavirus linked to schools a few days after students return to class

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A week after the return of a third of French schoolchildren to classrooms, there has been a disturbing outbreak of around 70 school-related COVID-19 cases, according to the government.

Some lower classes in schools were opened last week and another 150,000 junior high school students returned to class Monday as restrictions on coronaviruses have been relaxed by the government.

But French Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer sounded the alarm on Monday, saying on French radio RTL that the return put some children at risk of infection.

He said the affected schools are closing immediately. French media reported that seven schools in northern France had been closed.

Blanquer did not say whether the 70 COVID-19 cases involved students or teachers.

Since the incubation period for the virus is several days, people are “likely” to have been infected before the schools reopened, he said.

France reopened around 40,000 nursery and primary schools last week, with classes capped at 15 students.

About 30 percent of the children have returned to school, said Blanquer. The government has authorized parents to keep children at home.

French authorities have reported at least 142,411 people infected with the coronavirus and 28,108 deaths.

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