Two extra weeks off suggested for students amidst Covid-19 fears

The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has suggested local authorities nationwide to consider to let preschool children and primary and secondary school students to continue to leave school for one to two weeks.

Students follow an online home lecture during their prolonged school break to avoid the Covid-19 infection. (Photo: NDO/Minh Ha)
Students follow an online home lecture during their prolonged school break to avoid the Covid-19 infection. (Photo: NDO/Minh Ha)

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In its letter sent to the provinces and cities’ authorities across the nation on Thursday (February 27), the ministry said that based on the practical situation of the locales, local authorities should consider and decide to extend the current break for local students, who already had their school leaving period prolonged to eliminate the risk of the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infection.

For high school students, they can return to school from March 3, the MoET’s document said. In addition, the ministry also recommended that localities direct local schools to continue strictly implementing the measures to prevent and fight Covid-19, ensuring school safety under the guidance of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the MoET.

The MoET continues to closely monitor the situation of the disease to timely guide localities in the process of implementing the 2019-2020 educational plan.

Previously, on February 22, the ministry adjusted the time frame for the 2019-2020 school year, setting the date for the end of the current academic year at no later than June 30, while the national high school graduation exams will last from July 23 to 26.

* On Friday morning, the Quang Ngai Provincial Department of Education and Training issued an urgent announcement allowing local high school students to return to school from March 3, while pre-school, elementary and secondary school students will continue to leave school until March 8.

Concerning the prevention and control of Covid-19, the province’s Department of Health said that so far all 976 local schools and 503 public facilities have been sprayed with disinfectants. The Provincial Centre for Disease Control and local clinics have distributed over 77,000 leaflets and 1,000 posters on Covid-19 prevention. The whole province had seven people returning home from the RoK from February 23 to 25 and all are in normal health.

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Quang Tri province preparing procedures to isolate 16 local people who had close contact with two Vietnamese residents coming back from the Republic of Korea. (Photo: NDO/Lam Quang Huy)

* The Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has announced the postponement of local cultural events and festivals scheduled to take place in March. Accordingly, the 7th Ho Chi Minh City Ao Dai Festival has been postponed due to Covid-19 and is expected to be held in April.

* Yen The district in Bac Giang province has announced the postponement of the 136th anniversary of Yen The Uprising (1884-2020).

* On Thursday afternoon, the Department of Health of Da Nang city affirmed that the Da Nang Centre for Disease Control has fulfilled its responsibilities and duties according to the guiding documents from the MoH and the competent authorities on the inspection and control of passengers coming from the Republic of Korea (RoK). The local health sector arranges a special ambulance with two staff on duty 24 hours a day to be ready to assist and receive citizens when there are signs of abnormal health to move them to local medical facilities.

Currently, Da Nang is quarantining and tracking 22 Covid-19 suspected cases while 27 other are in surveillance in the community. Currently, their health is normal.

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Quarantine staff disinfecting a flight at Da Nang International Airport. (Photo: NDO/Anh Dao)

* On Thursday afternoon, Vice Chairman of Dong Thap Provincial People's Committee Doan Tan Buu said that the province promulgated a plan to establish a field hospital for Covid-19 response. Currently, the 300-bed field hospital located at the Dong Thap Military-Civilian Hospital is eligible to operate.

* The same day, Ninh Binh, Lang Son, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien - Hue and Ca Mau provinces announced the isolation for dozens of Vietnamese citizens who have returned from the epidemic areas in China and the RoK. They are in normal health but have been isolated for 14 days under the MoH’s regulations on Covid-19 prevention.

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Passengers’ body temperature being checked before getting off a speedboat to Ly Son Island. (Photo: NDO/Hien Cu)

* According to the Department of Overseas Labour (DoLAB) under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, there are 48,000 overseas Vietnamese labourers are working in the RoK under their contracts. In particular, in the Covid-19 hit areas of Daegu and Gyeongbuk, there are about 4,000 Vietnamese employees. However, there has been no information on Vietnamese workers infected with Covid-19 and they are still working as normal.

The DoLAB has instructed the Vietnamese Labour Management Board in the RoK to closely cooperate with the Korean agencies to update information related to policies and regulations for foreign workers during the local Covid-19 control and to support Vietnamese employees in need. From February 22, the Management Board established two hotlines at 010-3248-6886 and 010-4356-2505, in addition to the phone number of the EPS Office at 010-9892-1712 to directly advise and support employees when needed.

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Dong Thap province leaders inspect the prevention and control of Covid-19 in a local hospital. (Photo: NDO/Huu Nghia)

* According to a report from the National Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of Covid-19, on February 27, the number of new Covid-19 cases outside of China for the first time was greater than the number of new infections in the country, marking a turning point in the spread of the epidemic on a global scale. The RoK is currently the country with the fastest and highest increase in new infection cases outside of China (1,595 cases, 12 deaths). As of 9:30 pm on February 27, 82,584 people worldwide have been infected with Covid-19, including 2,811 dead. The number of infected cases has been recorded in 50 countries and territories.

In Vietnam, all 16 confirmed cases so far have recovered and been released from the hospital. Up until February 27, the country has not recorded any new infected cases for 15 consecutive days. The MoH continues to coordinate with other relevant authorities and direct localities and local units to isolate Vietnamese people returning from and going through the RoK Korea, as well as raising vigilance and drastically implementing measures to prevent and control the epidemic.