ANKARA – More than 290 million students have been affected by school closures across 13 countries amid efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak, the UN said Thursday.

“While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education,” said Audrey Azoulay, director general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in a statement.

The number of affected countries has risen to 76 with Argentina, Chile, Poland and Ukraine having just reported their first cases of the virus.

Meanwhile, in a rare show of empathy between two arch-rivals, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un Thursday sent a “consolation” letter to South Korea, the second worst-hit country after China.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that new 438 cases of the virus, officially known as Covid-19, were confirmed until Wednesday night.

The center said 60 percent of the cases were linked to a branch of the country's Shincheonji religious sect in Daegu, South Korea’s fourth-largest city.

So far, 96 countries have imposed travel restrictions on South Korea.

More cases were reported across Japan, New Zealand and India taking the total to 1,000, three and 29, respectively.

New Zealand on Thursday also confirmed the first case of human-to-human transmission, local media reported.

Hong Kong confirmed its first case of human-to-animal transmission when a pet dog tested positive for coronavirus.

Number of cases reached 95K

The number of registered coronavirus cases across the globe has reached 95,000, while the death toll stands over 3,000, an online watchdog said on Thursday.

According to Worldometer, China where the virus emerged has over 80,000 registered cases with almost 6,000 in "serious or critical" condition. So far, 3,013 people in China have lost their lives.

With 5,766 confirmed cases, South Korea ranks second among countries most affected by Covid-19 whereas Italy comes third with its 3,089 official cases. A total of 35 people have died due to the virus in South Korea while the death toll was 107 in Italy.

Iran, where senior state officials including lawmakers have contacted the virus, has 2,922 confirmed cases and 92 deaths. Tehran announced on Thursday that it suspended all sports activities in the country.

Japan currently has more than 330 confirmed cases, while six people have lost their lives, whereas European heavyweights France, Germany and Spain each have over 200 cases with the total death toll tallied at six.

The US has announced 160 confirmed coronavirus cases and a death toll of 11.

The numbers of cases in the UK, Switzerland and Norway are measured in the dozens -- 87, 93 and 59, respectively.

Other countries with over a dozen confirmed cases include Kuwait, Australia, Bahrain, Sweden, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Austria, Iraq, Canada, the UAE, Iceland, Belgium, Algeria, San Marino, Vietnam, Denmark, Israel, Lebanon, Oman, Greece and Croatia.

According to the most recent data, Covid-19 is now present in over 80 countries across the globe.

Notably, some 52,000 former patients who contracted the virus have recovered. (Anadolu)