On Friday, India’s health ministry raised the nation’s total cases to 5.21 million, or 0.37% of its nearly 1.4 billion people. It said 1,174 more people died in the last 24 hours, for a total of 84,372 fatalities. Experts say India’s death toll may be a significant undercount.
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India is expected to surpass the U.S. in weeks in the number of confirmed cases. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his birthday Thursday made a fresh appeal to people to wear masks and maintain social distancing as his government prepared plans for handling big congregations expected during a major Hindu festival season beginning next month.
Authorities extended until the end of September a ban on assemblies of four or more people in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital. More than 178,000 have been infected by the coronavirus in Mumbai, including 8,320 who died.
A senior governing party lawmaker who helped with new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s election campaign has been hospitalized with COVID-19, becoming the first confirmed case in Japan’s parliament.
Shuichi Takatori, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, developed a fever and tested positive for the coronavirus, according to parliament’s lower house. Takatori attended a plenary session Wednesday at which Suga was formally elected prime minister. He accompanied 81-year-old party Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai when they greeted former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after the vote, Kyodo News agency reported.
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Japan has 77,494 confirmed coronavirus cases including 1,482 deaths as of Friday, according to the health ministry.
South Korea’s daily coronavirus tally has stayed in the 100s for a 16th consecutive day as authorities struggle to contain small-scale local infections. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Friday that the 126 new cases in the past 24 hours took the country’s total to 22,783 with 377 deaths.
China on Friday reported that imported coronavirus cases surged to 32 during the previous 24 hours. Thirteen of those cases were reported in the northern province of Shaanxi, whose capital Xi’an is a major industrial center, while the eastern financial and business hub of Shanghai reported 12.
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China, where the virus was first reported late last year, has gone more than a month without reporting any cases of local transmission but remains highly vigilant to cases brought from outside. It has suspended issuing new visas, and anyone arriving from abroad is required to undergo two weeks of quarantine. Schools, businesses, transport and public services have largely resumed normal operations under social distancing, mask wearing and location-tracking requirements.
In France, at least a dozen COVID-19 clusters have emerged since French campuses and classrooms opened this month. The clutches of cases are a warning sign for countries elsewhere in Europe, where most universities are readying to resume teaching and research in coming weeks.
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France’s experience so far stands in contrast to what’s happening in Britain, where virus-driven changes on campuses mean university life will look a lot different this term. Germany and Italy are also adapting their delivery of higher education in response to the pandemic.
The French government was determined to get people back to classrooms to bridge education inequities that the pandemic has exacerbated. The government also urged workers to return to offices and job sites to resuscitate the economy and to “learn to live with the virus.”
At universities, the main change this year is mandatory mask-wearing at all times. But keeping physical distances appears impossible in many places.
Researchers at Duke University published their analysis in 'Science Advances.'
One factor in the overcrowding is more students are attending French universities. The number of students enrolled jumped by 270,000 to 2.8 million after the exam which allows high school students access to universities was canceled due to the pandemic. Students were instead granted access based on school grades, and many more qualified than usual.
In the UK, most universities do not begin their fall terms until late September or early October. They are readying big changes.
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At the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where the fall semester began Monday, many classes are being taught online — other than laboratory sessions or other practical instruction where hands-on learning is essential. Student societies are barred from meeting in person, and many students arriving from overseas will have to quarantine for two weeks in line with government protocols.
At University College London, only a quarter of the buildings will be occupied at one time. Teaching spaces will incorporate social distancing, and everyone must wear face masks. The university created an app for students to alert authorities if they have symptoms and plans to test up to 1,000 students and staff a day to keep the campus safe.
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In Germany, most universities won’t start lectures before next month, and they have introduced numerous rules to ensure distancing, increased hygiene and bans on students' parties. They are also expanding online teaching.
Many Italian universities are reopening with distance learning this fall. Priority for physical classrooms was being given to first-year students, to aid their transition.
In the United States, dozens of universities have emerged as virus hot spots. Although students are being spaced apart in classrooms and dining halls, the virus has continued to spread in cramped dorm halls and through off-campus parties that have been blamed for thousands of cases.
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The surge has prompted some universities to send students home and cancel in-person instruction for the rest of the term. U.S. officials are urging against that approach, saying it could spark outbreaks elsewhere. Instead, universities are being urged to keep students where they are and temporarily move classes online.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.