World Food Programme on March 20 said that more than 300 million children around the globe are missing out on free school meals due to coronavirus lockdown. The UN body said that many of these children are from poor families and depend on the daily meals they receive at school. The coronavirus outbreak has forced authorities around the world to shut down schools and universities in order to prevent the spread.
As per the World Food Programme (WFP), some 37 countries that implement their school feeding programmes are under partial or complete lockdown, which means that nearly 9 million children are no longer receiving WFP-supported school meals. The number according to the body is set to rise in the coming days.
"This pandemic is having a devastating effect on school children around the world, particularly in developing countries," said Carmen Burbano, director of school feeding at WFP. "For children from vulnerable households whose only proper meal is the one they get at school, this turn of events is calamitous. We can shift to online learning, but not online eating. Some solutions are needed and that’s what we’re working on," Carmen added further.
The COVID-19 has claimed more than 11,400 lives across the world and has infected nearly 2,76,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Italy, Iran and Spain are the most affected countries outside mainland China, where, as of March 20 the combined death toll stands at 6,558. Italy has now surpassed China to record the most number of deaths in the world due to the virus outbreak, while Iran and Spain both crossed the 1,000 mark.