Top US health agency urges schools to reopen: Coronavirus latest

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  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 284,196 in the past 24 hours.

  • Some 15.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while more than 638,000 have died, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University. More than 8.98 million people have recovered.

  • France advised its citizens not to travel to the Spanish region of Catalonia in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19. 

  • India reported more than 49,000 fresh cases of the coronavirus with 740 new deaths, marking the biggest daily surge in infections.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, July 24

01:07 GMT – New foreign students cannot enter US if courses are online

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new guidelines that will block new foreign students from entering the country if they plan to take their classes entirely online this autumn.

In a memo to college officials, ICE said new students who were not already enrolled as of March 9 will “likely not be able to obtain” visas if they intend to take courses online.

The policy strikes a blow to colleges a week after hundreds united to repel a Trump administration policy that threatened to deport thousands of foreign students.

That rule sought to bar all international students in the US from taking classes entirely online this fall, even if their universities were forced to switch to fully online instruction amid an outbreak.

Read more here

US coronavirus catastrophe: Who is to blame? | Head to Head (48:31)

00:17 GMT – US health agency urges schools to reopen

The top health agency in the United States issued new guidelines on reopening schools in the autumn, stressing the need for children to get back into the classroom despite fears about safety as coronavirus cases surge across the country. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added the documents, titled “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall”, after President Donald Trump called earlier recommendations too tough, impractical and expensive.

Trump sees reopening of schools as important to boost the economy as he seeks re-election in November.

Dr Robert Redfield, CDC director, said the additional documents were “all put out with the intent to help facilitate … the full reopening of schools for face-to-face learning”.

The guideline includes recommendations such as keeping desks six feet apart, keeping students in small cohorts and using outdoor spaces. 

It urged school leaders to work with local officials to make decisions about the autumn, taking into account the virus’s rate of transmission in the area. If there is minimal or moderate spread, it recommends social distancing, masks and increased sanitation. 

But in areas with substantive and uncontrolled spread, it said school closure is an “important consideration” adding that “plans for virtual learning should be in place in the event of a school closure”.

Read more here.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

You can find all the key developments from yesterday, July 24, here.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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