More French schools closed after virus cases detected

PARIS (AFP) – More French schools have closed after multiple students tested positive for COVID-19 while a further 2,100 individual classes have also been called off, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said yesterday.

Early last week, just 28 schools were closed shortly after the school year resumed but that number has climbed to 81 over the past week.

“We have around 1,200 new COVID cases among students compared with last week,” Blanquer told LCI television. “We shut down a class as soon as there are three cases.”

He noted that the closures represent just a small fraction of the 60,000 schools across France, calling the beginning of the new school year “the best possible given the health crisis.”

French officials have warned nonetheless that new restrictions might be required to stem a worrying increase in coronavirus cases since August.

Late Tuesday, the University of Montpellier in southern France said it had suspended classes at its medical school after some 60 students tested positive after a party.

The University of Rennes in western France also suspended classes for second- and third-year medical students this week after 83 tested positive.

The Sante Public France health agency reported nearly 8,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours yesterday, a small decline from the more than 10,000 cases reported last Saturday, a record since wide-spread testing began.