Britain’s government is backing away from plans to have all children return to primary school before the summer, even as the country moves to ease restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to acknowledge on Tuesday that not all students will return after schools argued they were constrained by classroom sizes, the need for social distancing and inadequate staff numbers.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he isn’t surprised by the decision and that the “ambition” to bring back all primary students for a month before the end of the term was “a case of the government over-promising something that wasn’t deliverable.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Monday the pandemic was “worsening” globally, noting that countries on Sunday reported the biggest-ever one-day total: more than 136,000 cases. Among those, nearly 75 per cent of the cases were from 10 countries in the Americas and South Asia.
According to Johns Hopkins University, as of Tuesday morning, there were more than 7.1 million recorded coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than 407,000 reported deaths.
The U.S. has seen the most cases, according to the Baltimore-based university, at more than 1.9 million cases reported with more than 111,000 deaths.
As of 12:55 p.m. ET on Tuesday there were 96,614 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with 55,537 considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 7,941.
Quebec and Ontario account for the vast majority of cases in Canada, with Quebec on Tuesday passing the grim milestone of 5,000 deaths in that province alone.
Long-term care homes and other settings where people live in groups have been particularly hard-hit. The Canadian military has deployed members to care homes in both Ontario and Quebec to help meet the needs of vulnerable residents amid critical staffing shortages.
What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada
WATCH | Daily briefing on federal coronavirus response
Provinces are taking steps forward on reopening plans, but top public health officials in Canada are urging people to stick with measures aimed at reducing risk of infection, including staying home if sick, physical distancing, rigorous handwashing and wearing masks in places where physical distance can’t be maintained.
Read on for a look at what’s happening around the world.
Spain’s top health official for the coronavirus response is warning against complacency, saying that the earlier detection and treatment of infections could be giving a deceiving impression that the virus might be weakening.
Fernando Simon, who heads Spain’s health emergency coordination center, said that the much lower rate of hospital admissions for COVID-19 and the lower age of incoming patients — who are now 52 on average compared with 61 in early May —might have contributed to the idea that the outbreak is less severe.
“There is no evidence that the virus is less virulent,” Simon said Monday during a daily briefing. “The most plausible explanation is simply that we now detect cases at a milder stage.”
South Africa’s cases are “rising fast,” according to President Cyril Ramaphosa. More than half of its approximately 48,000 confirmed cases have been recorded in the last two weeks, prompting concerns that Africa’s most developed economy could see a steep rise in infections shortly after restrictions are relaxed.
Qatar will start lifting restrictions under a four-phase plan starting on June 15, when some mosques can reopen and flights can depart.
New Delhi has reversed orders that limited the scope of coronavirus testing and reserved hospital beds for city residents as the Indian capital’s caseload continues to surge. Delhi’s numbers of infected jumped to 29,943 on Tuesday of India’s 266,598 total cases nationwide.
Since coming to power in 2013, the government led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has prioritized investing in health care. Delhi has the best health care in India, drawing patients from across the country.
But as lockdown restrictions have eased in recent weeks, the number of people infected with the coronavirus has soared in the capital. On Sunday, Kejriwal announced that hospital beds for COVID-19 patients would be reserved for Delhi residents and testing limited to those with symptoms of the disease.
But the central government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly objected to the rules, and late Monday the Delhi government set them aside, with Kejriwal tweeting that “making arrangements for treatment for people from across the country during the Covid-19 pandemic is a major challenge. But maybe it’s God’s will that we have to serve everyone in the country.”
Vietnam plans to allow a resumption of flights to and from countries that have had no cases of coronavirus for 30 days, state media cited the prime minister as saying.
In Nepal, police in riot gear fired a water cannon and beat protesters demonstrating over the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. About 200 protesters gathered on a road leading to the prime minister’s official residence with signs demanding more virus testing. The government has been criticized for limited testing, inadequate quarantine facilities and limited aid to poor people affected by the country’s lockdown. The business community has been pressuring the government to ease restrictions despite the rising number of virus cases. Nepal has reported 3,762 confirmed cases and 14 deaths.
Indonesia reported a daily increase in coronavirus cases of more than 1,000 for the first time Tuesday as its total confirmed cases reached 33,076. Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said there were 1,043 new cases and 40 more deaths, taking the death toll to 1,923, the highest in Southeast Asia. New cases have been spiking as the government gradually allows businesses to resume operations amid growing economic pressures in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Brazil reported 679 new deaths and 15,654 additional cases, as controversy grew over the country’s official coronavirus data amid allegations of manipulation from a senior lawmaker.
Clare Wenham of the London School of Economics described the situation in Brazil as “terrifying,” noting the government’s decision to stop publishing a running total of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
“We’ve seen problems with countries reporting data all over the world, but to not even report data at all is clearly a political decision,” she said. That could complicate efforts to understand how the virus is spreading in the region and how it’s affecting the Brazilian population, Wenham said.