As the world unites in the battle against the deadly coronavirus, nearly 300 million students worldwide faced weeks out of schools on Thursday. Italy is the latest country to join the bandwagon to shut down schools over COVID-19 fears.
Originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the novel virus has now spread to over 80 countries-- infecting more than 95,000, and killing over 3,200 globally.
India also saw a surge in COVID-19 cases when two people-- one in Delhi and one in Telangana-- tested positive. Both persons had a travel history to infected countries. Soon after, an Italian tourist was found to test positive for the disease. He was travelling with a group of 21 fellow-Italians, a majority of whom were later found to have contracted the virus. The total number of infected persons in India has reached 28.
With a stable rise in coronavirus cases, countries are striving to implement extraordinary measures to contain the spread. On Wednesday, UNESCO reported that 13 countries had shut down schools, putting 290.5 million children at home, while nine others have implemented localised closures.
UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said, “the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education.”
On Wednesday, Italy ordered schools and universities to be closed until March 15, as the countries deal toll rose to 107.
After China, South Korea is the country with the biggest COVID-19 outbreak with nearly 6,000 cases. The country has postponed the start of the current term until March 23.
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also ordered for classes to be cancelled through March and spring break, slated for late March through early April.
In India, two Noida schools have also been shut down as a precautionary measure. The children of the infected Delhi patient are students in one of the schools. However, classes will be resuming in a few days.