French teachers to strike against ‘chaotic’ COVID policies – Live | Coronavirus pandemic News

The WHO says 15 million people tested positive for COVID-19 last week, by far the highest number of cases reported in a seven-day period.

Global cases of COVID-19 hit an all-time high last week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with 15 million people testing positive for the coronavirus in the seven days leading up to January 9.

The figure marks a 55% increase from the previous seven days, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, adding that “the huge spike” was caused by the Omicron variant.

While the highly infectious strain causes less severe disease than the Delta variant, Tedros says the Omicron remains a “dangerous virus,” especially for those who are not vaccinated.

The WHO chief’s comments came as Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hokestra announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 and teachers in France launched a strike against the ‘chaotic’ viral strategy government for schools.

Here are the latest updates:

WHO to discuss extension of global health emergency

With the help of an independent expert committee, the WHO will consider later today whether to prolong a global public health emergency it has declared over the coronavirus.

The current “public health emergency of international concern” has been in place for almost two years now.

Whether the committee recommends declaring the coronavirus emergency over or not, there would be few practical consequences.

However, many experts fear its end could send the wrong signal as cases multiply across the world.

Australian Open crowds capped at 50%

Authorities say crowds at the Australian Open will be capped at 50% capacity as COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions continue to rise in Melbourne.

Jaala Pulford, Minister of Tourism for the state of Victoria, said in a statement that face masks will also be mandatory during the opening of the Grand Slam of the year, which begins on Monday.

Viewers will be required to socially distance themselves indoors, she added.

French teachers on strike against the “chaotic” COVID strategy

French teachers are set to quit work because of what they say is the government’s failure to adopt a cohesive school policy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, or to properly protect students and staff against infection.

“The exhaustion and exasperation of the entire educational community has reached an unprecedented level,” eleven unions said in a joint statement.

“The responsibility of the minister and the government in this chaotic situation is complete due to the incessant changes of foot, impractical protocols and the lack of appropriate tools to ensure that (schools) can function properly.”

The strike comes as teachers, parents and school administrators struggle to follow new testing rules, announced before the end of the Christmas holidays but changed twice since following criticism.

The unions said they expected many schools to be closed on Thursday and scores of teachers – around 75 percent in primary schools – to join the one-day strike.

Dutch Foreign Minister has COVID-19

Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch Foreign Minister, said he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be in quarantine at his home in the coming days.

He made the announcement on Twitter.

Hoekstra, who was only sworn in on Monday, was in Brussels on Tuesday where he met European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrel and Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continued coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I am Zaheena Rasheed from Male, Maldives.

Read all the developments from January 12 here.

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