No fewer than 70 new COVID-19 cases have been registered barely a week after some French schools were allowed to reopen.
The French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Monday that the new cases were registered in about 50 schools, which were then closed again.
Under the government’s lockdown exit plan, 40,000 primary schools and kindergartens have reopened in the country’s “green” regions – those with low COVID-19 numbers since May 11.
Secondary schools are scheduled to resume operations on Monday, while high schools are to remain closed until June.
“Seventy coronavirus cases have been detected in the 40,000 schools that have reopened since May 11 and received 1.4 million school children across the country,” Blanquer said.
The closures took place in Mayenne, Finistere, Cantal, Haute-Garonne, Indre-et-Loire, Herault and Nice.
According to Blanquer, nearly 70 per cent of primary school pupils are continuing to learn remotely.
Nevertheless, the main goal remains that “every child resumes contact with the school,’’ he noted.
Blanquer also said that as secondary schools begin to reopen in France on Monday, caution is required accordingly.
Educational institutions in “red zone’’ regions, however, must wait until at least the end of May before knowing the date of their possible resumption.
France began easing the two-month lockdown restrictions on May 11 with the reopening of schools, non-alimentary shops, cafes, restaurants and other public places in “green zone” regions less affected by the virus.
The highly infected “red” regions, however, remain under the local authorities’ strict surveillance.
As of Monday, France has detected a total of 179,693 COVID-19 cases, the sixth highest number in the world, with the death toll at 28,111.