(Photo by JEON HEON-KYUN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

In view of the concern over the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, Hong Kong schools will prolong the closures until 16 March. Students were originally scheduled to return school on 2 March.

This was announced by Secretary for Education Hong Kong, Kevin Yeung Yun-hung on Thursday (13 February) after the government declared a virus emergency on 25 Jan, closing the schools for two weeks after Chinese New Year holiday and later extending it to 2 Mar.

Following this, the major exam of Primary Six students for the secondary school placements has been cancelled as well.

As fears of the coronavirus grow, the only alternative was to extend the school closures for two extra weeks at kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, said Mr Yeung according to South China Morning Post.

He said, “We all know that in view of the epidemic, it is not really safe now to resume classes, that’s why we have to suspend the classes.”

On top of this, Mr Yeung stated that further assessment will made based on professional advice from health experts, readiness of schools, as well as the supply of epidemic preventive materials in the community in order to decide the exact date to resume school.

He added that the date of school resumption will be announced until all the conditions are satisfied.

Meanwhile Hong Kong’s university entrance exam are scheduled to start on 27 March. The education bureau will give the final word by the end of February whether to delay the written exams and cancel oral exams for language subjects.

Public servants continue to work from home

In addition, the public servants were told by the government to continue working from home for another week until 23 Feb as a preventive measure against Covid-19, reported state media.

It was reported that the government made an announcement to advise all public servants to work from home between 29 Jan and 2 Feb, and later extended to 16 Feb.

Speaking on this special work arrangement, the government spokesperson said that the major concerns are to minimise the social contacts and the risk of coronavirus spread in the community.

“The government will review the situation before then,” the spokesperson added.

Update on cases of Covid-19

Hong Kong has reported 51 confirmed cases of Covid-19 to date, with one of two deaths outside of mainland China. The other death was in the Phillipines.

The Covid-19 outbreak has rattled across the world,  with total infections continuing grow to more than 60,000 and a death toll of over 1,300. These number have exceeded the total infections cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003.

As of 12 Feb, Singapore had total of 50 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Of these, 25 cases are locally human-to-human transmitted.

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