Coronavirus: what’s happening Wednesday in Canada and around the world
On Wednesday, more students in India will be able to enter a classroom for the first time in nearly 18 months, as authorities gave the green light to partially reopen more schools despite apprehension from some parents and parents. signs that infections are returning.
Schools and colleges in at least six other states are gradually reopening with health measures in place throughout September. In New Delhi, all staff are to be vaccinated and class sizes will be capped at 50% with staggered seats and sanitized desks.
In the capital, only students from grades 9 to 12 will be allowed to attend initially, although this is not compulsory. Some parents say they will hold their children, including Nalini Chauhan, who lost her husband to coronavirus last year.
“That trauma is there for us and that’s what keeps me from going out. We don’t go to malls. We don’t shop. So why schools now?” she said.
Life has slowly returned to normal in India after the trauma of a ferocious wave of coronavirus at the start of the year that left life in the country dead, sickened tens of millions and left hundreds of thousands dead. A number of states reverted to face-to-face learning for certain age groups last month.
New daily infections have declined sharply from their peak of over 400,000 in May. But on Saturday, India recorded 46,000 new cases, the highest in nearly two months.
The hike has raised questions about reopening schools, with some caveats against this. Others say the risk of the virus for children remains low and there is an urgent need to open schools for the poorest students who do not have internet access, making online learning nearly impossible .
“The simple answer is that there is never a good time to do anything during a pandemic,” said Jacob John, professor of community medicine at Christian Medical College in Vellore. “There is a risk, but life has to go on – and you can’t go on without schools.”
Online education remains a privilege in India, where only one in four children have access to the Internet and digital devices, according to UNICEF. The virtual classroom compounded existing inequalities, marking the haves of the have-nots, said Shavati Sharma Kukreja of the Central Square Foundation, an education nonprofit.
“While children with access to smartphones and laptops continued their learning with minimal disruption, the less privileged have effectively lost over a year of education,” she said.
In the state of Uttar Pradesh, where the school reopens on Wednesday for students in grades 1 through 5 after older students were allowed last month, six-year-old Kartik Sharma was delighted to wear his new school uniform. His father, Prakash Sharma, said he was “satisfied” with the school’s anti-virus protocols.
“The arrangements made by the school are first class,” he said.
Not all are so confident. Toshi Kishore Srivastava said she would wait before sending her son back to first grade.
“Doctors are predicting the third wave, and in this scenario, sending children to school could prove to be detrimental,” she said.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
What is happening in the world
As of early Wednesday afternoon, more than 217.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker. The worldwide death toll stood at 4.5 million.
In the Asia Pacific region, Moderna said its Japanese distribution partner Takeda Pharmaceutical is planning to initiate a recall of three batches of the US drugmaker’s COVID-19 vaccine that have been suspended because Japan reported the fourth case of contamination in less than one week. The country’s health ministry said the contaminants found were stainless steel particles and did not expect them to pose a health risk.
In Africa, Egypt’s daily confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen steadily in recent weeks amid relaxed precautionary measures and the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The health ministry on Tuesday evening reported 279 cases in 24 hours and nine deaths, compared to 194 cases and seven deaths on the same day last week.
The delta variant was first detected in Egypt in July. Daily reported cases have increased as authorities relax restrictions, allowing concerts and other large events where few attendees wear face masks or keep their distance from others.
In Europe, the Italian government has pledged to crack down on protesters threatening to block train tracks, typically demanding COVID-19 tests or vaccines to take effect for long-distance domestic travel.
From Wednesday, passengers on domestic flights, trains running between regions and some ferries must present a so-called “Green Pass” certifying that they have received at least one dose of vaccine, tested negative within 48 hours. hours or recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Local buses, streetcars and subways are exempt from the rule, which was announced weeks ago.
In France, meanwhile, health workers have started giving COVID-19 vaccine boosters to people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions to boost their vaccine protection, while the variant Highly contagious delta is spreading across the country.
People can get vaccinated as long as a minimum of six months has passed since they were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Those who have received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be boosted by Pfizer or Moderna at least four weeks after being vaccinated for the first time.
In the Middle East, Palestinian health authorities are launching a vaccination campaign for students in the Gaza Strip aged 16 to 18 as the territory faces a third wave of coronavirus infections. Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank began a similar campaign on Tuesday.
In the Americas, Brazil recorded 24,589 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 839 deaths from COVID-19, the health ministry said.
The largest hospital on the Big Island of Hawaii is operating at about 120% of its capacity amid an increase in COVID-19 cases. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the Hilo Medical Center has 38 patients being treated for the disease caused by the coronavirus, including 10 in the intensive care unit. A spokesperson for the hospital said that as the largest hospital on the island, it cannot turn patients away.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 12:15 p.m. ET