As coronavirus surges, Spain's back-to-school plans under fire
MADRID (Reuters) - With coronavirus cases surging and less than two weeks of the school holidays left, parents, teachers and opposition politicians in Spain are angry at the government's plans for reopening classrooms. Latest government data showed daily infections peaked at 7,609 on Friday - their highest since late March - before dropping to 3,349 on Thursday. However, the fall may not represent a trend as similar declines have been followed by new peaks in recent weeks
coronavirus surges, Spain's back-to-school plans under fire" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/08-2020/21/2020-08-20T141622Z_1_LYNXMPEG7J0Y1_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-SPAIN-TEST.jpg" alt="As coronavirus surges Spains backtoschool plans under fire" width="300" height="225" />
MADRID (Reuters) - With coronavirus cases surging and less than two weeks of the school holidays left, parents, teachers and opposition politicians in Spain are angry at the government's plans for reopening classrooms.
Latest government data showed daily infections peaked at 7,609 on Friday - their highest since late March - before dropping to 3,349 on Thursday. However, the fall may not represent a trend as similar declines have been followed by new peaks in recent weeks.
"Don't be confused: things are not going well," health emergency chief Fernando Simon told reporters.
Pablo Casado, leader of the conservative opposition People's Party, accused Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's leftist government of keeping the country guessing on the reopening of schools.
"Not a single Spanish family knows what will happen to their children when the school year starts," he said. "We cannot let a whole generation of children have their education held back because of a lack of planning."
Spain's regions are in charge of regulating the return to school, though the central government will present national guidelines next week.
In Madrid, where more than 1,000 new cases were reported on Thursday, regional authorities did not rule out delaying face-to-face classes, putting a strain on working families.
"We have to be a bit careful about the date of reopening the schools," deputy health chief Antonio Zapatero told Reuters. "Perhaps, due to the level of positives, we will have to rethink about if we open by ages."
Still, deputy regional leader Ignacio Aguado said he was in favour of bringing children back to the classroom.
Complaining of a lack of resources and safety measures, teachers' unions in Madrid have called a series of strikes for the first weeks of September.
With more than 370,000 cases, Spain has the most infections in western Europe. It has reimposed some restrictions since a strict lockdown ended in late June.
Nearly 29,000 have died. The tally of about 20 daily deaths so far in August is well below the more than 800 a day in late March, but has risen since the end of the lockdown when it was in low single digits.
(Reporting by Michael Gore, Silvio Castellanos, Clara-Laeila Laudette, Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Giles Elgood)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.