COVID-19: Shanghai & Most of China Schools to Re-open in a Month

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


Shanghai, most of China to reopen schools by end of April, Beijing and Hubei yet to decide

[CGTN} The Shanghai Municipality and Guangdong and Hebei provinces announced on Thursday reopening of schools, signifying millions of students' return to the classroom two months after the coronavirus pandemic.

The Shanghai education authority said that students in the final year of senior and junior high schools can return to school on April 27, and higher education institutions and secondary vocational schools can arrange to receive soon-to-be graduates the same day.

It said all schools in Shanghai should be ready to welcome students in other grades in batches before May 6 and emphasized that educational training institutions are not allowed to conduct offline training and services before Shanghai's primary and secondary schools and kindergartens reopen.

Guangdong's education authority made a similar announcement on the same day. The Guangdong authority said classes for students in grades nine and 12 would resume on April 27. However, students in other grades would not return to the schoolroom until after May 11, when they would be welcomed back in batches. The body did not disclose when kindergartens and special education schools will reopen.

Hebei Province prioritized the return of students of grade 12 on April 23. Students in grade nine and final year students in secondary vocational schools return on May 7. Students in other grades, primary schools, kindergartens and special education schools, need to wait for further notice.

Northwest China's Qinghai Province became the first province to start the new semester on March 9. Since then, most of China have followed suit either reopening schools in March or outlining school resumption schedules in April.

So far, only the country's capital Beijing and Hubei Province, the coronavirus epicenter, have not revealed their school reopening plan.

The highly anticipated gaokao or national college entrance examination was postponed for a month and is scheduled to be held between July 7 and 8.

Boris Johnson is out of intensive care

Boris Johnson in London on July 23, 2019. TOBY MELVILLE / REUTERS 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson "has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery," Downing Street said in a statement Thursday.

"He is in extremely good spirits, the statement added.

Johnson's condition worsened on Monday, and he was taken to the ICU. On Tuesday, Downing Street said he was in a stable condition.

He did not require mechanical or invasive ventilation and did not have pneumonia, according to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputizing for the Prime Minister.

Locked-down Tokyo sees another day with record number of new COVID-19 cases 

Tokyo reported 181 new coronavirus cases Thursday, setting another record daily increase. The total exceeds 1,500, with infections accelerating in the Japanese capital under a state of emergency.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike urged companies to more quickly shift to remote working and cooperate with the stay-at-home request.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently declared the state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures, allowing Koike and other leaders to take tougher steps to ensure social distancing.  

A Rush of Local News

A total of 42 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, 38 from abroad, one new death and 47 asymptomatic cases were reported in the Chinese mainland on Thursday, according to China's National Health Commission (NHC).

The latest numbers of total confirmed cases in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan region are as follows:

Hong Kong: 973 (293 recovered, 4 deaths)

Macao: 45 (10 recovered)

Taiwan: 380 (80 recovered, 5 deaths)

The Chinese government has sent a team of medical experts to Kazakhstan at the invitation of its government to help the country battle the COVID-19 outbreak. The medical team took with them medical supplies donated by Xinjiang, including 49,600 disposable medical masks, 4,800 N95 masks, 2,000 protective suits and two non-invasive ventilators. 

A Rush of News

South Africa extended the current 21-day lockdown until at least the end of April. 

The Spanish Parliament has voted to extend the state of emergency in the country for the second time, until April 26.

The Finnish government extended restrictions on schools, museums and theaters to contain the spread of coronavirus until May 13, announced in a statement on Thursday.

Italy: At least 100 doctors have died from coronavirus, the Italian Association of Doctors said Thursday. Eighty of them worked in the north of Italy, the hardest-hit area of the country. 

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Thursday that mass gatherings may be barred through the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports. 

Airbus says it is cutting production by about one-third as airlines scale back orders for new planes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hungary has prolonged a nationwide lockdown indefinitely.

The Czech government announced Monday it would begin relaxing some coronavirus restrictions this week, including allowing some stores to reopen and exercising without a mask.

Mumbai and New Delhi have both mandated face masks for people who leave their homes, in joint announcements made Wednesday.

Lebanon's government has extended its almost month-long coronavirus shutdown by another two weeks until April 26

JPMorgan now sees US economy contracting by 40% in second quarter, and unemployment reaching 20%

European Union finance ministers agreed on Thursday on half-a-trillion euros worth of support for their coronavirus-battered economies after weeks of wrangling that exposed painful divisions in the bloc headed for a steep recession.

A man in New Zealand has been sentenced to three months in jail after spitting at police, a person could face 14 years in jail if they spit or cough on another person and infect them with a disease.

New Zealand: Starting Friday, all arrivals will need to be quarantined in an approved facility for at least two weeks. The change means they can no longer self-isolate at home, or anywhere else they choose. This will only affect New Zealanders -- as foreigners aren't allowed entry for weeks.

Hard-Hit Countries/Regions

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. 

Spain reported 5,756 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the country's total tally to 152,446. The death toll has risen to 15,238 from 14,555, its health ministry said on Thursday. Speaking earlier on the day, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the country's latest coronavirus data is encouraging and is close to the beginning of a decline in the epidemic. 

Sweden reports large increase in deaths for second day:

Sweden has reported a rise in the daily death rate from coronavirus of at least 100 for two days in a row, taking the total number of dead to 792.  Sweden has not implemented a nationwide lockdown like other European countries. Instead they are asking those aged 70 and over to stay at home and for other to observe respected levels of social distancing, but public meeting places such as bars and restaurants are open. 

Britain's coronavirus death toll rose by 881 to 7,978 people as of 16:00 GMT on April 8, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said. As of 08:00 GMT on April 9, a total of 243,421 had been tested, of which 65,077 tested positive, Raab said, speaking at the government's daily news conference. Raab warned that the country hadn't "yet reached the peak of the virus".

New York: The US' coronavirus epicenter of New York recorded a new single-day high of 799 COVID-19 deaths, outdoing the previous high of 779 announced on Wednesday, but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the rate of hospitalisations continued to fall. 

Italy: The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rises to 143,626, while the death toll rises by 610 to a total of 18,279.

Russia reported a record one-day rise in cases of novel coronavirus, pushing the official tally to more than 10,000, a day after President Vladimir Putin said the coming weeks would prove decisive in the fight against the virus. The number of cases jumped by 1,459 and 13 more people died, the national coronavirus crisis response centre said on its website. That brings the overall death toll to 76.

Pakistani Taxi Drivers Give Free Rides to Spanish Health Workers

About 43,000 Pakistanis live in Barcelona, and almost 89,000 in Spain overall, according to the Spanish Statistical Office [Sheraz Syed/Al Jazeera] 

Pakistani taxi drivers in Barcelona has started an intitiative providing free rides for medical workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The initiative started at the beginning of Spain's lockdown, in mid-March, as six Pakistani taxi drivers led by Shahbaz Ahmed discussed how medical workers would be able to return at night to their homes.

Since then, their effort has expanded to about 200 volunteers, including some drivers from other nationalities.

107-year old Dutch and 103-year old Italian recover from coronavirus

A 107-year old Dutch woman has recovered from the coronavirus, probably becoming the oldest survivor of the pandemic in the world.

Cornelia Ras fell ill on March 17, the day after her 107th birthday, Dutch newspaper AD reported, after attending a church service with other residents of her nursing home on Goeree-Overflakkee, an island in the southwest of the country.

She and 40 others at the service were subsequently diagnosed as carrying the virus.

In Italy, 103-year-old Italian says 'courage, faith' helped beat virus. I'm well, I'm well, Zanusso said Tuesday during a video call with The Associated Press from the Maria Grazia Residence for the elderly in Lessona, a town in the northern region of Piedmont. I watch TV, read the newspapers.

To recover from the coronavirus, as she did, Ada Zanusso recommends courage and faith, the same qualities that have served her well in her nearly 104 years.

Ada Zanusso, right, poses with a nurse at the Maria Grazia care home in Lessona, northern Italy, after recovering [Maria Grazia Lessona/AP]

US State Governor Wears Mask During Press Conference

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham began her weekly address to the state on coronavirus wearing a colorful homemade mask Thursday afternoon. 

We are wearing them to demonstrate that we take this very seriously," she said

Government officials participating in the press conference were also wearing face masks.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wears his face mask during a media briefing on April 9, in Salt Lake City. Rick Bowmer/AP

Botswana's Parliament Quarantined 

All Botswana's parliamentarians including President Mokgweetsi Masisi will quarantine for 14 days and tested for the coronavirus, after a health worker screening lawmakers for the virus herself tested positive overnight.

The health worker had checked the temperatures of some of the lawmakers a day earlier during a special sitting of parliament, which was called to debate a proposal by Masisi to extend a state of emergency to six months.

US Stocks finish higher

US stocks finished higher on Thursday, buoyed by a new $2.3 trillion Federal Reserve program to support the economy through the coronavirus crisis.

Exchanges are closed for Good Friday tomorrow, so that concludes this trading week.

Here's where the markets finished up:

The S&P 500 finished up 1.4%. The index recorded its best week since 1974, climbing 12.1%.

The Dow ended up 1.2%, or 286 points. It logged a 12.7% gain on the week.

The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.8% higher. On the week, the index climbed 10.6%, marking its best week since 2009.

16.8 million jobless claims were filed over a 3-week period in the US

City of Hialeah employees hand out unemployment applications to people in their vehicles in front of the John F. Kennedy Library on Wedndesday,April 08, in Hialeah, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Over the last three weeks, more than 16 million Americans have filed jobless claims with the Department of Labor.

Here's the breakdown of the last three weeks:

  • Week ending April 4: 6,606,000

  • March 28: 6,867,000 (was revised higher)

  • March 21: 3,307,000

Those add up to 16.8 million claims.

Germany could ''gradually return to normalcy'' after Easter, Health Minister Says

German Health Minister Jens Spahn gives statements on the novel coronavirus pandemic in Berlin on Thursday, April 9. John MacDougall/POOL/AFP/Getty Images


Germany has seen some positive developments over the last few days and is ready to ''gradually return to normalcy'' after Easter if current restriction measures are adhered to over the holidays, Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin, Spahn spoke of positive developments in recent days.

''The number of newly reported infections is flattening out. We are seeing a linear increase again rather than the dynamic, exponential increase we saw in mid-March."  

Spahn said that the restrictive measures are taking effect, adding that Germany is currently conducting 100,000 coronavirus tests per day. He praised Germanys health care system, saying 40% of intensive care beds are currently vacant. 

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for "patience" in the coronavirus crisis, saying that society will have to "live with the virus" until a vaccine becomes available. 

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Lufthansa is Losing 1 million Euros Every Hour

The engines of a Lufthansa Boeing 747 are seen covered with plastic film at Frankfurt Airport in Hessen, Germany on April 8, as the airline temporarily decommissions part of its fleet. Boris Roessler/picture alliance/Getty Images

Lufthansa, one of Europe's biggest airline groups, says it is losing around 1 million euros of its liquidity every hour.

The group confirmed to CNN that CEO Carsten Spohr addressed staff on Wednesday in a video message, telling them the coronavirus pandemic represented the greatest challenge in our history and that Lufthansa is fighting for its future.

Instead of its normal 350,000 passengers a day, the airline is currently carrying fewer than 3,000 passengers per day. 

World faces 'worst economic fallout since Great Depression'

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday warned the body's 170 member countries of an expected drop in per capita income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"In fact, we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression," Georgieva said.