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Ho Chi Minh City gives students another week off in wake of new coronavirus

Thursday, February 06, 2020, 16:13 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City gives students another week off in wake of new coronavirus
Students wear face masks while attending a class at an elementary school in the north-central province of Nghe An on February 5, 2020. Photo: Doan Hoa / Tuoi Tre

The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has approved a proposal by the municipal Department of Education and Training to extend the school break through February 16 in a bid to prevent the possible spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The city’s K-12 students will resume school on February 17, according to a decision signed by the local administration on Thursday afternoon.

All kindergarteners and school students were previously asked to stay home for one week from February 3, when they had been slated to get back to school after the weeks-long Lunar New Year holiday.

They were supposed to resume school on February 10, according to a previous decision made by the municipal People’s Committee.

However, the Department of Education and Training in the southern metropolis put forward a proposal on Thursday to further postpone the back-to-school date to February 17.

“In the wake of the complicated development of acute respiratory infections caused by a new strain of the coronavirus, in order to prevent the possible spread of the disease in schools and ensure students’ health, the Department of Education and Training asks for approval from the Standing Committee of the municipal People's Committee to extend the temporary break for schools in the city through February 16, 2020,” the department wrote in its proposal.

Primary students wash their hands during school in the north-central province of Nghe An on February 5, 2020. Photo: Doan Hoa / Tuoi Tre

Elementary school students wash their hands during school in the north-central province of Nghe An on February 5, 2020. Photo: Doan Hoa / Tuoi Tre

All but two out of 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam have allowed K-12 students to stay home in light of the 2019-nCoV outbreak in the country.

The north-central province of Nghe An and the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre remain the only two localities in Vietnam where students have returned to school after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Over 60 universities and colleges nationwide have also granted their students at least a week off after the Lunar New Year holiday.

The novel coronavirus, which first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has killed 565 people and infected more than 28,200 globally as of Thursday, according to the South China Morning Post.

It has spread across mainland China and to 31 other countries and regions, according to a Reuters tally based on official statements from the authorities involved.

Vietnam has confirmed ten cases so far, including seven Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.

Among them, one Chinese and two Vietnamese have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital as of Thursday. They were all treated for free.

The World Health Organization has declared the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

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