Schools reopen as Singapore eases lockdown restrictions

Students wearing protective face masks attend a class at Yio Chu Kang Secondary School, as schools reopen amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore June 2, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Schools reopen as Singapore eases lockdown restrictions

  • School students were urged to maintain a safe distance as they lined up to return to class
  • Singapore has said it will ease restrictions gradually

SINGAPORE: With temperatures checked, masks fitted, and hand sanitizers at the ready, many Singapore children returned to school on Tuesday after a novel coronavirus lockdown of nearly two months.
Across the island, the hum of the morning rush hour resumed while staff at schools urged students to maintain a safe distance as they lined up to return to class.
With one of the highest coronavirus tallies in Asia, Singapore has said it will ease restrictions gradually, with the registry of marriages and some businesses, including pet salons, also reopening on Tuesday.
“You have to restart your normal life at some point,” said Harsha Yavagal, who was sending his boys aged five and 12 back to school.
“Schools are taking all possible measures to cope with the virus,” he said.
Studies in some European countries have shown reopening schools has not led to a rise in coronavirus infections, while other studies have shown fewer cases of the disease among children compared with adults.
But Singapore is not taking any chances.
At one secondary school, Reuters observed the precision of the “new normal” morning routine.
After a bell, students sang the national anthem through face masks that are required by law. The teacher then asked everyone in the class to put thermometers in their mouths and he went desk-to-desk noting temperatures.
The students then cleaned their thermometers with an alcohol wipe and, one-by-one, dropped the wipes in a bin.
Recesses will be staggered and children will have to sit apart at the canteen, the teacher said, then asked students to respond to an online poll via their smartphones about how they felt about returning to school.
The results appeared on a screen behind him: more than half said they were happy with a further third “very happy.”
Singapore has recorded more than 35,000 coronavirus cases and 24 deaths. Most cases have been among migrant workers living in dormitories.


Groom dies, 111 guests test positive for COVID-19 after wedding in India

Updated 7 min 52 sec ago

Groom dies, 111 guests test positive for COVID-19 after wedding in India

  • The man, 26, had been admitted and discharged from hospital before his wedding on June 15

LONDON: A groom in India who was suffering from suspected COVID-19 symptoms before he got married died two days after his wedding ceremony, while 111 of his guests tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The man, 26, had been admitted and discharged from hospital before his wedding on June 15 and was keen to cancel the wedding, but was advised against it by relatives due to the “huge financial losses” it would incur, local media reported.

It is not clear if he died directly from the virus because his body was cremated before any tests were carried out, officials in the state of Bihar said.

The chief medical officer in Bihar, Raj Kishor Chaudhary, confirmed all 111 people who tested positive had been “identified and isolated,” adding that the majority of them were asymptomatic. 

The bride and her family tested negative for the disease.

He added that anyone who attended the groom’s funeral would also need to self-isolate.According to media reports, around 300 people attended the wedding ceremony, while 200 attended the funeral.

An investigation has started into social distancing violations that may have taken place at both events. India’s coronavirus restrictions only allow for 50 people to attend weddings and 20 people to attend funerals.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India number 607,000 and more than 17,000 people have died as a result of the virus.