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Some universities, schools to remain closed until Feb 16 due to coronavirus emergency

Update: February, 07/2020 - 09:25
A health official sprays chemicals to disinfect classrooms in the Phùng Chí Kiên Secondary School in Nam Định Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Đạt

HCM CITY — A number of universities and schools in several provinces and cities will extend their closure until February 16 amid an ongoing public health emergency caused by the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

As of February 3, as many as 105 universities and 895 vocational training schools in the country had announced that they would remain closed until this Sunday (February 9). 

Universities that have announced they will extend the closure to February 16 include Vinh University in Nghệ An Province, HCM City University of Food Industry and University of Law, Miền Đông University, Lạc Hồng University in Đồng Nai Province, Hà Nội Paedagogical University 2 and Law University, Cần Thơ Tourism College, and Nha Trang University.

Their representatives said the extra time would allow them to take preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus infection.

Although Vĩnh Long University of Technology Education plans to reopen on March 9, other universities in the country have not announced whether they will open again on February 10 or study online. Experts have said that risks associated with the coronavirus could diminish by March.   

Speaking at a press meeting held on Wednesday (Feb 5), Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng said that people’s committees in provinces and cities could close schools for one or two more weeks, if they find it necessary.   

Quảng Ngãi Province was the first province in the country to announce that it would keep schools closed until February 16 instead of this coming Sunday. Đồng Nai Province, HCM City and Hà Nội authorities have also announced that schools will reopen on February 17.

The People’s Committees in these provinces and HCM City approved the Department of Education and Training’s petition to extend the closure. 

Hà Nội's education department has submitted its proposal to the city's leaders asking to also extend the break until February 17.

Dũng said that closing universities and schools this week was needed to clean and disinfect classrooms and other spaces on their campus.

The deputy minister of Education and Training, Nguyễn Hữu Độ, said that in planning for teaching this academic year, there will be one week for making up for lost days each semester. If the current closure is prolonged, this school year could end in June instead of May 31.   

As of Wednesday, schools in 62 provinces and cities have closed schools until Sunday (February 9). Only schools in the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre opened after the Lunar New Year (Tết) holidays.

Temporary site 

Following instructions from the HCM City Steering Board for Diseases Prevention and Control, the International Health Quarantine Centre of HCM City on Wednesday set up a new site for preventing and controlling the spread of coronavirus at Tân Sơn Nhất International airport’s domestic arrival terminal.

One machine for measuring body temperature was installed at the site. All tourists in the airport’s arrival terminal are measured. People with a fever or fatigue will be examined further. If symptoms of coronavirus infection are suspected, they will be transferred to the city's Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

At the airport’s international arrival terminal, two body temperature machines have been installed.

The city's Management Centre of Public Transport has set up a team specialising in the prevention and control of coronavirus. The centre has instructed transport companies to clean and disinfect buses after each trip.

Bus staff including administrators, drivers and others have to wear masks. Temperatures in buses should be no more than 25 degrees Celsius. The staff also should hand out free brochures about preventive measures against the virus to passengers. — VNS


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