France reports 70 new coronavirus cases in schools allowed to reopen

France reports 70 new coronavirus cases in schools allowed to reopen
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Approximately 70 cases of coronavirus have been reported in French schools a week after they reopened.

Students in some lower grades returned to in-person classes last week, while 150,000 junior high students returned Monday in “green” regions with lower rates of infection, although Paris is not included.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told French media that schools where students have become infected are immediately being closed again, with local media reporting that seven schools in the north have been shuttered, according to NBC News.

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Blanquer did not make clear whether the 70 cases involved students, teachers or a combination of the two, but he noted that the virus’s several-day incubation period suggested people were infected before last week, when about 40,000 preschools and primary schools reopened with maximum class sizes of 15.

About 30 percent of children have returned to school over the past week, he added, although the government has allowed parents to keep their children home.

Despite uncertainty over children’s capacity to spread the virus asymptomatically, the nation last week recorded the first child fatality due to Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory illness that has raised concerns about a possible link to the virus in children in the U.S. as well.

The fatality, a 9-year-old Marseille boy, was one of 125 children in France confirmed to have the syndrome thus far.

At least 142,411 people have contracted the virus in France and about 28,108 have died.

In Germany, which is also in the process of phased reopening, no major outbreaks have been reported, although one school in Berlin was ordered temporarily closed last weekend over a report that a teacher with the virus had contact with other teachers, two elementary classes and an after-school program, according to NBC.

Another German teacher in the same region has tested positive and ordered into quarantine, but their school has remained open as the teacher had contact with only a handful of children, according to local media.