300 million students out of school as Covid-19’s global spread worsens

Elementary school students in Japan. (Photo courtesy: The Sentinel)

(TibetanReview.net, Mar06’20) – The spreads of the China-originated Covid-19 epidemic over the globe has forced almost 300 million students to stay at home, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Mar 5, citing the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The UN agency has recommended the use of distance learning programmes to limit the disruption of education.

Calling it “a figure without precedent,” the Paris-based UN agency has noted that 13 countries had shut schools nationwide, impacting almost 300 million children and youth who would normally attend pre-primary to upper-secondary classes.

A further nine countries were stated to have implemented localized school closures to prevent or contain the spread of the globally raging epidemic.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has said, “While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education.”

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Worldwide, a total of 98,428 people have been infected thus far in more than 75 countries with 3,383 dead as of Mar 6 at 5:13 PM Hong Kong time, according to data compiled by the scmp.com. Mainland China accounted for 80,552 of the confirmed infections and 3,042 of the deaths, all figures showing marked increases.

South Korea continued to be the worst hit county outside mainland China with 6,593 people infected and 42 dead.

Italy has become the country with the most number of deaths outside mainland China at 148, with 3,858 people infected.

Iran had a total of 3,513 people infected and 107 dead.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship continued to showed the same figures of 706 infections and 6 deaths among its passengers and crew.

Other countries and territories with confirmed cases and deaths as of Mar 6 at 5:13 PM Hong Kong time included France (423, 7), Japan, (348, 6), Spain (261, 3), the United States (145, 10), the United Kingdom (115, 1), Hong Kong (104, 2-unchnged), Switzerland (87, 1), Australia (59, 2), Thailand (47, 1-unchanged), Taiwan (45, 1), Iraq (26, 2-unchanged), San Marino (21, 1), and the Philippines (5, 1).

Countries and regions with 10 or more confirmed infections, but no death, as of Mar 6 at 5:13 PM Hong Kong time included Germany (534), Singapore (117-unchanged), Sweden (88), the Netherlands (82), Kuwait (56-unchanged), Norway (56-unchanged), Bahrain (52), Belgium (50), Malaysia (50-unchanged), Austria (47), Canada (45), India (30-unchanged), the UAE (27-unchanged), Iceland (26), Algeria (17), Vietnam (16-unchanged), Israel (15-unchanged), Oman (15), Ecuador (13), Ireland (13), Lebanon (13-unchanged), Macao (10-unchanged), Denmark (10-unchanged), and Greece (10-unchanged).

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In Mainland China, the National Health Commission (NHC) has reported a slightly higher number of 143 new confirmed cases and a bit lower number of 30 deaths on Mar 6 night, taking their totals to 80,552 and 3,042 respectively. Of the confirmed cases, 23,784 patients were still being treated and 53,726 had been discharged after recovery, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Mar 6.

The newly confirmed cases included 126 in Hubei Province while 29 of the dead were also from the province.

The commission has said 102 new suspected cases had been reported on Mar 6, taking the total to 482.

A total of 36 imported cases were reported in China as of Mar 5, reported the official chinadaily.com.cn Mar 6.

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China’s Vice-premier Sun Chunlan was heckled by residents who yelled “fake, fake, everything is fake” as she inspected the work of a neighbourhood committee charged with taking care of quarantined residents in Wuhan City, the epicentre of the Covid-19 epidemic, reported theguardian.com Mar 6. Protesting against a visiting government or especially party leader is an extremely rare occurrence in China.

Sun was reported to have toured a residential community in Wuhan’s Qingshan district on Mar 6, inspecting the operations of the neighbourhood committee, meant to make checks on residents each day and distribute necessities like medicine, food and fresh vegetables.

Videos posted online by the party mouthpiece People’s Daily were stated to show Sun and a delegation led by her walking along the grounds while residents appeared to shout from their apartment windows, “fake, fake,” “it’s all fake,” as well as “we protest”. Some were stated to have been heard yelling, “formalism,” a term employed frequently recently by the Chinese leadership to criticize ineffective measures taken by government representatives for the sake of appearances.

All residential compounds in Wuhan had been put under lockdown, barring most residents from leaving their homes, since Feb 12. Neighbourhood committees were charged with handling everything from arranging hospital visits and quarantines of residents, as well as residents’ supplies of food and daily temperature checks.

But, the report said, many residents had complained that the community workers had not provided needed assistance. Community workers have, in turn, complained that they had been overwhelmed.

People’s Daily later removed the video. However, other outlets like Beijing Youth Daily were stated to have reported on the incident. Also, a government-affiliated account on WeChat, Taoran Notes, was cited as saying in an essay posted on Mar 5 that all the facts of the incident were “basically true”.


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