The administration of Ho Chi Minh City has approved a proposal by the municipal education department to allow students citywide to enjoy two more weeks off school to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The school break, which has lasted since February 3, will be extended until February 29, the Standing Committee of the municipal People's Committee said on Friday afternoon.
All kindergarteners and school students in Ho Chi Minh City have stayed home since the Lunar New Year holiday, which began in late January.
Their back-to-school day had been initially scheduled for February 3 but was delayed twice to February 17 due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
This is the third time the school break has been extended in less than a month.
Vietnam confirmed its first infections on January 22, when two Chinese nationals were hospitalized in Ho Chi Minh City and tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Both patients have recovered and been released from the hospital as of Wednesday.
All 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam have allowed K-12 students to take at least one extra week off after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Hanoi said on Friday afternoon students in the capital city will stay home until February 23.
Meanwhile, around two dozen other provinces and cities in Vietnam have announced their schools will reopen next week.
According to a dispatch issued by the Ministry of Education and Training on Thursday, schools in provinces and cities that have not recorded an outbreak of the virus can reopen once they have finished fumigating classrooms.
For localities where there have been confirmed COVID-19 infections, schools can only start again once there are preventive measures in place to make sure students will not get sick.
The novel coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, has killed 1,383 people and infected over 64,400 globally since it first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, according to the South China Morning Post .
Vietnam has so far confirmed 16 cases of the virus, including 13 Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.
Among them, seven have fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital. They were all treated for free.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
The organization said on Tuesday the first vaccine targeting the virus could be available in 18 months, according to Reuters .
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