A monther kisses her child outside the Homebush West Public School in Sydney, Australi, on Monday. AFP
Students try out a new face shield to fight the coronavirus pandemic at a school in Cologne, Germany. AP
The two states on Monday joined the less populous Western Australia and South Australia states and the Northern Territory in resuming face-to-face learning, instead of studying from home online.
Meanwhile, thousands of children also flocked back to school in Ivory Coast in West Africa to restart lessons after a two-month coronavirus shutdown.
Smiles were visible again as Czechs ventured out without masks on Monday and returned to restaurants and schools after some of their country's last coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
Hotels and other accommodation have now reopened, while some services like tattoo parlours have also resumed work. Children have begun returning to elementary schools on a voluntary basis.
Children work on their classroom on the first day of New South Wales public schools fully re-opening for all students in Australia. Reuters
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Monday students and teachers had to observe one key message: Stay home if sick.
"We’re not out of the woods yet. We have to take each day as it comes, each week as it comes and we keep our fingers crossed that Queenslanders will continue to flatten that curve,” Palaszczuk said.
The remaining jurisdictions — Victoria and Tasmania states and the Australian Capital Territory — plan to send students back to school in stages through early June.
While New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, and Queensland, the third-most populous state, agree on reopening schools, they differ on reopening their common border.
New South Wales has recorded 50 of Australia’s 102 COVID-19 deaths and wants all state borders reopened. Queensland has recorded only six deaths and has no plans to open its borders.
South Australia and the Northern Territory also have no active cases and have closed borders. The Australian Capital Territory has not had a case in three weeks and has left its borders open like the worst-effected states, New South Wales and Victoria.
Thousands of children in face masks flocked back to school in Ivory Coast on Monday after the country became one of the first in West Africa to restart lessons after a two-month coronavirus shutdown.
With a total of 2,376 cases and dozens of new infections each day, Ivory Coast has yet to contain the virus. But authorities are confident pupils can study together in safety after the introduction of extra hygiene measures.
In Abidjan's Adjame neighbourhood, children in backpacks queued to wash their hands under a teacher's watchful eye before entering their school, where they sat just one to a desk with bottles of sanitising gel within reach.
"At first we were a little scared. When we saw that the protective measures were being respected, the fear went away," said 14-year-old Samira Cisse.
Nearby countries are likely to follow closely whether the Ivory Coast's decision to reopen schools causes a spike in infection. With millions of children still at home, aid agency Save the Children says many could face serious setbacks due to limited options for distance learning in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Ivorian education ministry told Reuters it appreciated the seriousness of its decision.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland told people they should still stay at home. Johnson's government has been accused by the opposition Labour Party of responding too slowly and late to an outbreak that has now produced the world's second highest death toll - something the government denies.
Elsewhere in Europe, frustrations with COVID-19 curbs were spilling over, with scuffles breaking out at a large anti-restrictions protest in the German city of Kassel, and thousands joining a similar demonstration in Liestal, Switzerland.
Some intensive care specialists are trying to hire more permanent staff. Others want to create a reservist "army" of medical professionals ready to be deployed wherever needed to work in wards with seriously ill patients.
Like millions of other Britons, the prime minister will be able to have a trim and a tipple on Saturday, when the country takes its biggest step yet out of coronavirus lockdown with the reopening in England of restaurants, pubs and hairdressers, along with secular and sacred venues including cinemas and church.
The latest precautionary measures must be observed, and performers and entertainers should be vaccinated against Covid-19.
On Monday the health ministry said around 280,000 cases and 4,106 deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. Both numbers are almost certainly undercounts.
Nearly 150,000 people were moved from their homes in the Indian state of Gujarat to safety on Monday and authorities closed ports and a main airport as the most intense cyclone in more than two decades roared up the west coast.