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Coronavirus news – live: Mounting calls for India to reopen schools as closures ‘set back country by decades’

pFILE. Indian school teacher at Gandhi Smarak school in Raghunathpur records a history lesson via mobile phone for students at the school on the outskirts of New Delhi/p

FILE. Indian school teacher at Gandhi Smarak school in Raghunathpur records a history lesson via mobile phone for students at the school on the outskirts of New Delhi

India is facing mounting calls to reopen schools, which have largely been closed throughout the pandemic since March 2020, resulting in many pupils dropping out altogether. At least 50 leading academics have now written an open letter calling for a rethink, saying “this break from schools will push us back by decades”.

Meanwhile, the IMF chief Geeta Gopinath, while explaining the agency’s decision to lower the economic growth projection for India, said the country had suffered a “catastrophic” second wave. And in terms of economic recovery, “looking forward, we have a very modest recovery as we think the [consumer] confidence will not come back as strongly as it did after the first wave.”

Etihad Airways has announced that it will stop all flights from India to the UAE until further notice. A spokesperson however clarified that “UAE nationals, diplomatic missions, official delegations and Golden residence holders are exempted from the UAE entry restriction.”

Myanmar could become a super-spreader state, the UN special rapporteur for the country has warned. Tom Andrews also urged for a ceasefire amid fears that Covid might spread to far and wider regions in the country.

And after a report that antibodies from Pfizer shots wane over a period of time after full vaccination, the company has implied that a booster dose could help improve immunity — even though scientists have not yet concluded whether a third shot will be needed.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog on the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday 29 July 2021.

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