Saigon students get another week off in novel coronavirus fight

By Manh Tung   February 6, 2020 | 03:30 am PT
Saigon students get another week off in novel coronavirus fight
A teacher at a primary school in HCMC's Go Vap District wears face mask as she cleans up her class to prepare for students' coming back after the Lunar New Year break, February 2, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Manh Tung.
Two million Saigon students will get another week off until February 16 with authorities deeming it a prudent move amidst the nCoV epidemic.

The decision was taken soon after a proposal to the effect was made by the municipal Department of Education and Training, which said the extended school break was a necessary measure to prevent the deadly epidemic from spreading into schools and ensuring the safety and health of students.

The extra week would help limit crowds as also the spread of the virus, the department said.

Earlier, the students had been allowed to stay away from classes until this Sunday, also as safety considerations related to the 2019-nCoV epidemic.

According to data from the Ministry of Education of Training, 62 out of 63 localities across the country, except Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta, had allowed their students to stay at home until this Sunday. Quang Ngai in central Vietnam was the first province in the country to approve a further extension until next Sunday.

As of Thursday afternoon, 33 universities and colleges across the country had postponed and rescheduled their classes until February 16.

Hanoi's education department is also asking for the city chairman's approval to add another week break.

Mai Tien Dung, Chairman of Government Office, had said at a press conference Wednesday that Vietnamese students can have one to two more weeks of holiday as authorities are expecting the nCoV pneumonia outbreak to peak in about two weeks.

If the school break had to be extended further, the school year could also go past the normal schedule of May 31, he said, adding that the schedule of the national high school exam could also be adjusted as the new situation demanded.

From January 23, when Vietnam recorded its first confirmed nCoV infections, a total of 10 people have tested positive for the virus to date, three of them in HCMC.

The country has so far had 409 suspected nCoV cases, of whom 347 have tested negative for the virus. 349 others who had close contact with infected patients are being closely monitored.

As of Thursday morning, the global nCoV death toll had hit 565 and confirmed infections risen to over 28,200, of whom 1,270 had recovered.

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