More than 849 million learners globally are out of school as governments around the world continue to shut schools in an attempt to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

This is according to the most recent figures from UNESCO, the UN body for culture and education, which stated that a total of 102 governments have closed educational institutions country-wide, while an additional 11 countries are facing localised closures. A total of 849.5 million learners are currently affected by the school and university closures around the world.

China is the worst-hit country, with more than 233 million children affected, while Pakistan is in second, where more than 44 million children have been impacted.

Just over nine million children are affected in Italy, the hardest hit European country, which has more than 31,500 confirmed cases of covid-19 and has recorded 2,500 deaths.

If the 11 countries that currently have localised closures decide to shut schools nationwide, millions more learners would be affected. There are currently local school closures in Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Russia, the UK, the US, Uruguay and Vietnam.

It was announced earlier today that schools in Russia would be closed for three weeks’ holiday, while all schools in Scotland and Wales are set to close on Friday (20 March).

It is still unclear whether schools in England will be forced to close. The UK education secretary is set to make a statement this afternoon (18 March).

According to CNN, some schools closed in the US will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.

This comes as confirmed covid-19 cases globally pass 200,000 and more than 8,000 people have died.