Hà Nội shuts schools ahead of planned holiday break over COVID-19 community outbreak

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Students and teachers at Nguyễn Trãi High School in Hà Nội got tested for COVID-19 on Saturday after going on a field trip to Chí Linh City, Hải Dương Province, the epicentre of community outbreaks in the country. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — After recording 11 community COVID-19 cases, Hà Nội authorities decided to close schools starting Monday (February 1), one week ahead of the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.

Chử Xuân Dũng, Deputy Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee and head of the city’s COVID-19 response committee, on Sunday agreed with the proposal from the city’s education and training department to let all students in the capital city – in public or private kindergarten, primary, secondary high, high, and vocational schools – stay home as a measure to contain the outbreak.

Hà Nội People’s Committee called for “utmost readiness” and prepare to handle all possible developments of the outbreak to ensure the safety and health of the educational officials, teachers, school’s staff and the students.

If the outbreak is contained, students will return to school on February 16.

The cases in Hà Nội are connected to the ongoing outbreak in the northern province of Hải Dương, the epicentre of the community wave of infections to hit the country since the pandemic began – this time marked by the presence of the more contagious coronavirus variant first reported in the UK.

Six of the new cases reported this morning are relatives related to the 40-year-old Patient No.1,694 in Nam Từ Liêm District, Hà Nội – his wife, son, mother and father-in-law, and brother-in-law, leaving his six-year-old daughter in the family of seven to be the only member to test negative.

Notably, his son – N.Đ.N.K, a nine-year-old third grader – went to Xuân Phương Primary School, Nam Từ Liêm District, Hà Nội during January 18-29 and 57 students, 12 teachers and 11 parents were identified as the direct contacts and had to go into quarantine.

The venue for quarantine was decided to be the Xuân Phương school itself. The military and local police officers have cordoned off the school, and family members of the quarantined people could be seen outside the school perimeters on Sunday to supply food, clothes, and other necessary items.

One parent is permitted to stay with their child who has to quarantine at the school.

Health workers have collected samples from the quarantined cases on Saturday night, with results pending.

Those who came into contacts with these quarantined cases are asked to self-isolate at home, under the supervision of the local administrations.

Phạm Xuân Tiến, deputy director of the Hà Nội Education and Training Department asked students to stay home and schools to organise online sessions. By doing so schools would be better prepared for even more complicated developments of the pandemic after the Tết holidays, he said.

Hà Nội was the ninth locality in Việt Nam to announce school closures following the slate of community cases in Quảng Ninh and Hải Dương provinces reported on Thursday.

The northern provinces of Hải Phòng, Bắc Ninh, Hoà Bình, Bắc Giang, Thái Bình along with the Central Highlands Province of Gia Lai, which have recorded cases related to the outbreak or direct contacts of confirmed cases, quickly followed suit and asked schools to conduct virtual learning if needed. — VNS

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