COVID-19: As Beijing Schools Reopen, Teachers are Required to...

Source: People's Daily, Xinhua, CGTN, China Daily, Global Times, CBS, iFeng, Baidu, Global  News Agencies, Majdi


Beijing schools prepare for reopening with emergency plans

Ma Zihan, a third grader of a primary school in Chaoyang District, attends an online class meeting from home in Beijing, capital of China, April 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)

[Global Times] The Beijing Municipal Commission of Education on Monday posted answers to the top 30 questions regarding school resumption. It said on Sunday that graduating students in high schools will return on April 27, and graduating students at middle schools will return on May 11.

Beijing requires teachers to wear masks in classrooms, and students to wear masks all time in schools, said the commission.

All students and teachers will undergo temperature checks before they enter the campus. Anyone with a fever will be first put under observation at temporary checkpoints and sent to a hospital if necessary. Inside schools, students and faculty members should also take temperature checks twice a day. 

Schools will establish a health tracking system to report students' and teachers' health conditions to Beijing authorities.

Schools will launch an emergency plan immediately if any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case occurs, and they will suspend classes or even close the school to ensure the safety of students and faculty members, said the commission. 

A senior class teacher surnamed Liu in a key middle school in Beijing told the Global Times on Monday that he and his students expect to return to school and prepare for the senior high school entrance examination this July.

Liu and his students are not concerned about infection risks as they trust the government and schools, he said. 

Liu said that his school has offered teachers supplies including masks, goggles and disinfectants. The school has regularly sanitized its campus since February and offered psychological consultations to both students and teachers, he said.

Some parents expressed confidence in the capital's ability to prevent transmissions in schools, but they also said one can't be too careful.

A Rush of Local News 

The Chinese mainland reported 89 more COVID-19 cases on Monday, 86 of which were imported from abroad, according to the National Health Commission.

The commission also reported 54 new asymptomatic patients. No new deaths reported. 

Vero-cell-derived vaccine, approved for clinical trials:

China approved clinical trials for two types of inactivated vaccines for COVID-19 on Tuesday, announced China's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council.

90% Reduction in borders crossing: 

China has reduced the number of people crossing its borders by 90 percent as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, said Liu Haitao, an official with the National Immigration Administration, at a press briefing on Monday.

Over 70% of imported cases confirmed during quarantine for medical observation: NHC official

Initial analysis showed that over 70 percent of the imported cases were confirmed during quarantine for medical observation, an official for the National Health Commission said at a press briefing on Monday. Recently, some newly confirmed cases imported from abroad were detected and diagnosed on the day of their entry, but most of them were confirmed during intensive medical observation, said the official.

2,744 Chinese Citizens Brought Back: 

Since March, China has arranged 16 charter flights to bring 2,744 overseas Chinese nationals back home, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration said at a press conference on Monday. According to the official, 1,278 Chinese nationals, including 1,067 students studying abroad, were flown back home from the UK, the U.S., Italy and Spain since April.

60 imported COVID-19 cases confirmed on an Aeroflot flight to Shanghai

Nucleic acid tests for 51 people came back positive after Aeroflot flight SU208 arrived in Shanghai from Moscow on Friday. A second round of nucleic acid testing was conducted on other suspected cases on the flight by the disease control department, with nine more people testing positive, bringing the total number of confirmed cases from the plane to 60. All confirmed cases have been sent to designated medical institutions for intensive quarantine treatment. All other passengers on the same plane have been placed under intensive medical observation.

A Rush of News

G20 health ministers to speak by video conference on April 19 about coronavirus.

Nigeria will extends lockdowns in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states for an additional 14 days.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced he was extending a virtual lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak until May 11.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised a $1m reward to the country's scientists if they manage to develop a coronavirus vaccine, his spokeswoman said.

Turkey to impose a fresh lockdown next weekend, having locked down 31 provinces last weekend.

South Africa airlifted some 136 of its nationals in the Nigerian capital, Lagos, to become the ninth country to do so from the West African country.

Hokkaido, in northern Japan, has declared a state of emergency for a second time, after seeing double-digit increases in confirmed coronavirus cases for five consecutive days.

Ford, the automotive giant, announced that production of a new type of pressurized respirator face mask for health care workers will begin on Tuesday. The mask, called a Powered Air-Purifying Respirator, or PAPR, is being developed in partnership with 3M. 

Mother of NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns dies of  complication from the coronavirus. 

U.S. Navy Sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has died of the new coronavirus, the Navy said Monday.

WHO on BCG Vaccine: There is no evidence that the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, which is primarily used against tuberculosis, protects people against infection with the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

United Nations spokesman said Monday that as of Sunday evening, there were 189 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the entire UN system across the world, including three deaths.

Hard-Hit Countries/Regions Official Announcements

Note: The news under this section are according to official reports in these countries; the numbers might not necessarily correspond to the data in the Global table, at the top of this article, which is calculated based on Beijing 24 hours time zone at around 10:00 AM. 

France: The death toll has risen to 14,967 from 14,393 a day earlier, the French public health authority said. 6,821 patients were currently in intensive care units, down from 6,845 on Sunday.

Turkey's confirmed cases increased by 4,093 in the past 24 hours, 98 people have died, taking the death toll to 1,296, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. The total number of cases stood at 61,049.

New York State death toll has passed 10,000, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. 671 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities in the state to 10,056.

Singapore's health ministry confirmed another 386 cases the city-state's biggest daily jump, taking its total to 2,918. A large number of the new cases are linked to outbreaks in migrant workers' dormitories.

Canada: The deaths toll rose by almost nine percent in a day to 734, official data posted by the public health agency showed. By 11am eastern time (15:00 GMT), the total number confirmed cases had risen to 24,804. That's compared to 674 deaths and 23,719 cases one day earlier.

UK: A total of 11,329 people have died in hospitals across the United Kingdom, up by 717 in a day, the health ministry said. The number of confirmed cases has risen by 4,342 to a national tally of 88,621. The deaths numbers are as of 5pm (16:00 GMT) on Sunday, while the confirmed cases numbers are as of 9am (08:00 GMT) on Monday.

Spain's death toll fell to 517 from Sunday's 619, bringing the total to 17,489, the health ministry said, adding that it was the smallest proportional daily increase since tracking began. The ministry said in a statement that overall cases rose to 169,496 from 166,019. 

Iran's death toll has risen to 4,585, with 111 deaths, total number of infected cases had reached 73,303. "Fortunately 45,983 of those infected with the virus have recovered ... There were 1,617 new infected cases in the past 24 hours," tweeted Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran's health minister.

Russia reported 2,558 new cases, a record daily rise, bringing nationwide tally to 18,328. Russia's coronavirus crisis response centre said that 148 people diagnosed with the virus have died so far, an overnight rise of 18.

Germany: The number of confirmed cases has risen by 2,537 to 123,016, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.  That was lower than a 2,821 increase reported on Sunday, and marked the third decline after four days of increases. The reported death toll has risen by 126 to 2,799.

US to Decontaminate 4.8 million N95 Masks Per Day

N95 particulate respirators. Justin Chin/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Pentagon announced a major contract for 60 decontamination units that will allow millions of N95 masks to be reused. The $415 million contract will allow for the acquisition of 60 Battelle Memorial Institute Critical Care Decontamination Systems (CCDS), that can decontaminate up to 80,000 used N95 respirators per system per day, enabling mask reuse up to 20 times.

Six units have already been delivered to multiple US cities including two to New York, and one each to Columbus, Ohio, Boston, Chicago and Tacoma, providing the ability to sterilize 3.4 million masks a week, reducing the need for new masks by the same number.

All 60 systems will be available by early May for prioritization and distribution by FEMA and HHS. Once all are delivered, these 60 units will allow 4.8 million masks to be sterilized per day, almost 34 million per week, the Pentagon statement added. 

South Korea reports 116 "reactivated" COVID-19 cases

South Korea's top infectious disease expert said Monday the number of patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus again after being cleared of the disease and released from hospitals had increased to 116. That figure was about double the number of "reactivated" cases reported last week. 

Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there hadn't been any confirmed transmissions from patients who tested positive for a second time. 

He said it was unclear whether the reactivated cases were due to patients contracting the disease again, faulty tests, or simply people still having low levels of the virus in their bloodstream that, for some reason, became detectable again over time.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested negative for coronavirus before leaving hospital

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at 10 Downing Street after being discharged from hospital in London on April 12. Pippa Fowles/Handout/No 10 Downing Street/Xinhua/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested negative for coronavirus before being discharged from hospital, his official spokesman said Monday.

No update on his health has so far been issued on Monday, but his spokesperson said that on the advice of his medical team, he is not immediately returning to work.

300,000 people return to work in Madrid as some restrictions lift across Spain

Around 300,000 non-essential workers have gone back to their jobs Monday in the Madrid region, a spokesman for Madrid's regional government told CNN.

Despite still reporting hundreds of new infections every day, the Spanish government announced it would begin rolling back some of its tough lockdown restrictions after the Easter holiday.

A partial lifting of restrictions came into effect today. Workers who cannot work from home, such as those working in construction and other industries, were permitted to return to work. However, shops, bars, and restaurants and other businesses considered non-essential, remain closed.

Pope prays for victims of domestic violence during lockdown

Pope Francis delivers a blessing over an almost empty St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, on April 13. Vatican News/AP

Pope Francis prayed for victims of domestic violence and all women involved in helping to assist others during the pandemic, in a special address from the Vatican's Apostolic Library on Monday.

"Today I want to remember how much many women do to take care of others, especially during this health emergency," the Pope said during a special prayer, called the Regina Caeli. "Women doctors, nurses, police and prison guards, those who work in shops providing essential items and many women and sisters and grandmothers who are on lockdown at home with their families: children, elderly and the disabled." 

"Sometimes they are at risk of violence due to a living situation which is too great a weight for them," the Pope said. 

"Let us pray for them, that the Lord gives them strength and that our communities may sustain them, together with their families." 

Tokyo airport provides cardboard beds for travelers awaiting coronavirus tests

An area of the arrival hall at Tokyo's Narita airport has been transformed into a cardboard box zone for international travelers who can't find a space in a nearby government-mandated hotel as they await their coronavirus test results.

The makeshift waiting area with dozens of cardboard bed boxes is for those whose friends and relatives can't pick them up immediately in a private car. Staff wearing protective gear provide snacks and water as travelers kill time.


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