Child banned from Rome school over Ebola fears

A three-year-old girl has been banned from a school in Rome after a holiday to Uganda, over fears that she may have contracted the deadly Ebola disease present in other African countries.

Child banned from Rome school over Ebola fears
The girl was stopped from going back to the school in Fiumicino, Rome province. School photo: Shutterstock

The child was prevented from returning to the nursery school in Fiumicino after her classmates’ parents protested that she could have Ebola.

The reaction of parents at the Fiumicino school was described as “alarmist” and “absolutely unjustified” by the Italian health minister.

“The minister of health, Beatrice Lorenzin, expresses her solidarity with the family of the young girl and notes that Uganda is not a country affected [by Ebola] and is very far from the area in West Africa struck by Ebola,” she said in a note published online.

When contacted by The Local, a spokesperson for the school was not available to comment.

SEE ALSO: Woman suffers racist 'Ebola' attack in Rome

Esterino Montino, Fiumicino's mayor, appealed for calm and said “fears should not be transformed into discrimination.”

“I have spoken to the director of the Isola Sacra school, who reassured me that having carried out the necessary checks, understanding the protocols at international airports, the school of the nursery school on Via Coni Zugna will remain open for all children, including the little girl who has returned from her travels in Uganda,” the mayor wrote on Facebook.

Italian parents are not the first to react in such a way over the Ebola virus. Earlier this month a child from Sierra Leone was prevented from attending classes at a school in north-west England after complaints from parents.

The mother of the nine-year-old boy said the ban was “heartbreaking” and the fault of “an ignorant parent body”, local media reported.

The Ebola outbreak has left nearly 5,000 people dead in West Africa, although it has now been contained to just three countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Ugandan capital Kampala is, as the map below shows, nearly 5,000km from Monrovia, the capital of Liberia which has been hardest hit by Ebola.

Google Maps

Screenshot: Google Maps

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Bavaria plans 100 million rapid Covid tests to allow all pupils to return to school

In the southern state of Bavaria, schools have been promised 100 million self-tests starting next week so that more children can start being taught in person again. But teachers say the test strategy isn't being implemented properly.

Bavaria plans 100 million rapid Covid tests to allow all pupils to return to school
Children in the classroom in Bavaria. Photo:Matthias Balk/DPA

State leaders Markus Söder said on Friday that the first 11 million of the DIY tests had already arrived and would now be distributed through the state.

“It’s no good in the long run if the testing for the school is outside the school,” Söder told broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) during a visit to a school in Nuremberg.

“Contrary to what has been planned in Berlin, we’ve pre-ordered in Bavaria: for this year we have 100 million tests.”

Bavaria, Germany’s largest state in terms of size, plans to bring all children back into schools starting on Monday.

SEE ALSO: ‘The right thing to do’ – How Germany is reopening its schools

However, high coronavirus case rates mean that these plans have had to be shelved in several regions.

In Nuremberg, the state’s second largest city, primary school children have been sent back into distance learning after just a week back in the classroom.

The city announced on Friday that schools would have to close again after the 7-day incidence rose above 100 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The nearby city of Fürth closed its schools after just two days of classroom time on Wednesday, after the 7-day incidence rose to 135.

The Bavarian test strategy plans for school children to receive one test per week, while teachers have the possibility of taking two tests a week. The testing is not compulsory.

But teachers’ unions in the southern state have warned that the test capacity only exists on paper and have expressed concern that their members will become infected in the workplace.

“Our teachers are afraid of infection,” Almut Wahl, headmistress of a secondary school in Munich, told BR24.

“Officially they are allowed to be tested twice a week, we have already received a letter about this. But the tests are not there.”

BR24 reports that, contrary to promises made by the state government, teachers in many schools have still not been vaccinated, ventilation systems have not been installed in classrooms, and the test infrastructure has not been put in place.