Covid flare up in China spreading to schools, kindergarten

New Delhi: The latest resurgence of Covid-19 in China has shown a tendency of spreading among schools, affecting students and kindergarten children, as at least four places have detected outbreaks related to schools and kindergartens, Global Times reported.

New local infections in border city Heihe, Heilongjiang Province, have remained high over the past few days and hit a record of 44 cases.

The cumulative number of confirmed domestically transmitted cases in the province reached 189, of which 184 were from Heihe.

At least 20 confirmed cases in Heihe have some relation with schools and kindergartens, affecting at least one primary school and two kindergartens. A local university — Heihe College — was closed after 10 close contacts were found, local authorities said.

Two sites of outbreaks in Hebei Province — Xinji and Shenze — were also found to have been related to schools and kindergartens. On Wednesday, Hebei found 23 new confirmed cases, 20 from Shenze county and the other three from Xinji.

Students were among the 20 confirmed cases in Shenze, with the youngest said to be 2 years old. The other three from Xinji were all 11-year-old students at an elementary school.

Gansu, which reported at least 12 confirmed cases among students, suspended in-person classes in 10,818 schools and kindergartens – 62 percent of the total local schools. The move affected 2.84 million students and 250,000 teachers.

All universities in Gansu will be under closed-loop management.

Beijing’s Chaoyang district also suspended classes at 18 schools after outbreaks of confirmed cases recently.

Zhang Yuexin, an expert on epidemic prevention and control, told the Global Times on Thursday that epidemic resurgences relating to schools should draw greater attention because infections of students could easily lead to transmission among communities. As young people have relatively lower vaccination rates, they could be naturally more vulnerable to the virus.

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