Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Coronavirus map LIVE: Schools report cases in Berlin – second wave fears in Europe

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At least 41 schools in Berlin have recorded new cases of the virus just two weeks after the German capital reopened 825 schools. Spain also registered a staggering 66,905 cases within a fortnight.

Following the new cases, hundreds of students and teachers have been forced to go into quarantine in a bid to stop the spread of the pandemic.

Berlin was one of the first places across Germany to reopen its schools after the summer holidays.

Face masks must be worn by children in the hallways, during breaks and when they enter the classroom.

However, they are allowed to remove the masks once they are sitting in a room and classes begin, a move which has been widely criticised by experts.

Now, according to reports in Berlin, all age groups have been affected by the deadly virus, including elementary schools, high schools and trade schools.

Other countries in Europe are also experiencing a second spike of new infections and deaths as the virus continues to ravage the continent.

Spain has been one of the worst hit countries during the pandemic and the country’s health emergency chief, Fernando Simón, warned the situation could get worse.

He said: “There should be no confusion: things are not going well.

“If we continue to allow transmission to rise, even if most cases are mild, we will end up with many in hospital, many in intensive care and many deaths.

“We can’t say that the epidemic is out of control at a national level, but there are some specific places where it is.”

Although not specifying the areas most infected, his comments come after more than a quarter of new infections have been in Madrid.

Within the last seven days, Spain has also recorded 131 new deaths, a staggering rise from just 12 a month ago.

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Other EU countries are also facing an increase in new cases including France.

On Friday, France recorded 4,586 new coronavirus infections, with 23 additional deaths over the past 24 hours.

Education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, said: “Use of masks will be systematic inside from middle school and not only when there is no social distancing.

“But outdoors, it’s a local decision.”

The UK currently has the highest death toll across Europe after surpassing 46,000.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been widely criticised as he moves forward with plans to reopen schools in September.

Originally, Mr Johnson aimed to get children back to school by June, however, he faced backlash from unions claiming it was unsafe to reopen.

Since the announced of a nationwide lockdown back in March in order to stop the spread of the deadly virus, millions of schoolchildren have been out of education.

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7.55am update: Senior medical expert says UK may need to increase testing to 10 million a day

A senior medical expert has warned the UK may need to increase testing by up to 10 milliion a day as cases continue to soar.

Professor Ara Darzi, a surgeon and co-director of Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation, told the Daily Telegraph: “Mass testing is not merely our best defence against the spread of the virus, it is also key to giving the country the confidence it urgently needs.

“And unlike a vaccine, which is still many months away, simple, easy and cheap tests, some based on saliva, with results in as little as 10 minutes, are already out there.

“However, it is not currently possible on a mass scale because the gold standard PCR test, which is both expensive and slow, requires a nose and throat swab which can only be analysed in a lab.

“If testing were simplified so people could self-test or be tested anywhere, easily and with rapid results, then it could be carried out daily.”

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