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China virus toll surges past 1,650

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Beijing,  The number of fatalities from China’s new coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic climbed to 1,665 on Sunday after 142 more people died due to the infection that has spiralled into a nationwide health crisis in the country.

According to the National Health Commission (NHC) 2,009 fresh cases were reported since Saturday, a decline from the 2,641 cases reported a day earlier. The symptoms of the new coronavirus are in many cases similar to those of a cold but may be accompanied by fever and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of breath).

The total number of coronavirus patients in the country has now risen to 68,500, Efe news reported.

All but three of the fresh casualties caused by COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation were reported from its epicentre Hubei province.
The hard-hit province accounts for the most 1,596 of the total coronavirus death toll in the country, the provincial health commission reported.

Nearly 1,850 fresh cases from reported from Hubei, a drop from some 2,400 registered a day earlier. The total number of cases in the mid-eastern province has jumped past 56,000.

Provincial capital Wuhan, where the disease was first identified, continued to bear the brunt of the epidemic, reporting 110 deaths in the 24 hours ending Sunday morning.

Authorities announced Saturday that they had mobilised over 20,000 medical professionals to the city, which has effectively remained in quarantine since January 23.

The NHC said 219 serious cases were identified across the country since Saturday, while 1,323 people were discharged after getting cured.

Over 9,400 patients have been discharged since the epidemic began while nearly 530,000 people who had been in close contact with the infected were followed up, with around 30 per cent of these still under observation.

The number of suspected cases grew to 8,228 on Sunday with over 2,000 fresh possibilities identified in the last 24 hours, the commission said.

After the first death outside Asia was reported from France on Saturday, the number of deaths outside mainland China has grown to four, with one death each reported from Japan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

Although the virus has spread to around 30 countries worldwide, China accounts for around 99 percent of the total cases.

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Seoul kindergarten student tests COVID-19 positive

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Seoul, May 25 (IANS) A kindergarten student in Seoul has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the South Korean capital city’s education office said on Monday.

The development comes just two days ahead of the planned second-phase resumption of South Korean schools, including kindergartens, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The six-year-old student is believed to have contracted the virus from his art teacher at Young Rembrandts, a private art school in Magok .

The teacher, who tested positive on Sunday, had taught 35 students at the institute until Friday and had contact with three other staff members.

The teachers all wore masks and followed the institute’s quarantine guidelines and social distancing rules, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

The art school’s 91 students, three teachers and two parents have been tested for the virus and are awaiting their results, which will come out on Tuesday.

The teacher’s 38 contacts have been ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days, and 13 educational institutes in the same building as the art school will be closed for disinfection.

The boy’s kindergarten, 10 nearby kindergartens and five nearby elementary schools will remain closed for two days for disinfection and other precautionary measures, said the Yonhap News Agency report.

Under the government’s phased school reopening plan, schools are scheduled to resume in-person classes for the two lowest grades of elementary school, kindergarten students, middle school seniors and second-year high school students on Wednesday.

High school seniors returned to school last week after more than two months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far infected 11,206 South Koreans and killed 267 others.

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UK COVID-19 deaths rise to 36,793 as another 118 patients die

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London, May 25 (IANS) Another 118 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Saturday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 36,793, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, Xinhua reported.

Chairing Sunday’s Downing Street daily press briefing, Johnson confirmed that primary schools in England will partially reopen from June 1, including the reception, year one, and year six in primary schools.

He added that he intends for secondary schools to provide “some contact” for year 10 and year 12 students to help them to prepare for exams next year from June 15.

“By opening schools to more pupils in this limited way we are taking a deliberate cautious step,” he told reporters, noting that the government “wants to start getting our children back into the classroom in a way that is as manageable and as safe as possible.”

Acknowledging that a June 1 opening may not be possible for all schools, Johnson said the government will continue to support and work with the sector.

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COVID-19: Bournemouth confirm one positive case

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London, May 24 (IANS) Premier League side Bournemouth has confirmed that an unnamed player is one of the two new coronavirus positive cases discovered by the latest round of tests.

“AFC Bournemouth can confirm that one of its players has tested positive for COVID-19, following the club”s second round of testing,” a statement on the club”s website, afcb.co.uk, said.

“Medical confidentiality means the player”s name will not be disclosed, and the club asks for this to be respected.

“In line with Premier League protocols regarding positive tests, he will self-isolate for a period of seven days before being tested again at a later date.

“Following strict adherence of the Premier League”s return to training regulations, the club”s training ground remains a safe working environment for players and backroom staff, who will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice per week,” it added.

Earlier, the Premier League had confirmed two more positive cases of COVID-19 in the second round of testing.

The Premier League said that 996 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

The clubs have been allowed to start small-group training from Tuesday after the top flight football league in England was suspended on March 13 due to coronavirus outbreak. The overall total count of positive results is now eight in the league.

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