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2 Sep, 2020 18:06

‘Practically all children’ will get infected, Madrid leader admits as schools plan to reopen amid spike in Covid-19 cases

‘Practically all children’ will get infected, Madrid leader admits as schools plan to reopen amid spike in Covid-19 cases

As the number of coronavirus cases rose in Spain and Madrid in particular, the capital’s premier argued that children will likely get infected at home or elsewhere, but that schools will be safe once they reopen.

“Over the school year it is likely that practically all children, one way or another,” will be infected with the coronavirus, Madrid regional premier Isabel Díaz Ayuso told esRadio in an interview on Wednesday. 

Perhaps they will become infected over the weekend at a family meeting, or in the afternoon in the park or catch it from a classmate. We just don’t know, because the virus can be anywhere.

With the school year scheduled to begin next week, Ayuso has ordered all teachers to get tested for Covid-19. The combination of short notice, long lines and the government contracting with a private company to take care of the tests has infuriated the educators.

“There are thousands of us, it’s crazy to bring us all together,” Esteban Álvarez, president of ADMAD, the Madrid Association of High School Principals, fumed to the newspaper El Pais.

Madrid accounts for nearly a third of all the new coronavirus cases in Spain over the past week and 30 percent of hospitalizations, according to data released by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday. Yet the capital has only 14 percent of Spain’s overall population.

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Ayuso thinks the government is scapegoating the capital region, and that schools are not to blame for the Covid-19 spike.

“Everyone is transmitting [the virus] and we haven’t started school. Schools will become very safe places. The problem is not schools,” she told esRadio, further arguing that “people must go out into the streets” and “children must return to school” to be with children of their own age, get back to their “routines” and “learn to socialize.”

Spain was hit hard by the early wave of coronavirus cases in Europe, trailing only Italy in the severity of the outbreak, and imposed strict lockdowns in response. Nearly 30,000 people have died due to the virus, according to official data.

Almost 471,000 cases have been registered since the start of the pandemic, just under 100,000 of them in just the last two weeks, sparking fears of the dreaded 'second wave' of infections.

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