Millions of Vietnamese children return to class after 9 months

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Feb 8 (EFE).- After a nine-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 17 million Vietnamese schoolchildren returned to in-person classes on Tuesday.

Security measures such as the use of face masks and temperature monitoring were in force.

According to the Ministry of Health, the measure affects 17.1 of the 22.6 million schoolchildren in the country and for now excludes primary school students in the two main cities of Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City), who will begin to return gradually from next week.

The return to class comes at the end of the Lunar New Year holidays and is for most students the first face-to-face class contact since schools were closed in May due to the epidemic across much of the country.

Restrictions began to ease from October as the vaccination campaign progressed – 74 percent of Vietnamese are fully vaccinated – but schools have remained mostly closed, with teaching online.

Children under 12 years of age have not been eligible for vaccination, but the government announced on Monday that it plans to buy 21.9 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech for those between 5 and 12 years of age, while waiting for almost the entire adult population to be given three doses each before the end of March.

Vietnam, which emerged almost unscathed from the first year of the pandemic, suffered a large wave last year and has accumulated 2.36 million infections, including 38,424 deaths.

The country, which has kept its borders closed since March 2020, has been relaxing restrictions in recent months despite the fact that the average number of infections has not dropped and sits at around 11,000 a day in the last week, with an average of 92 deaths per day. EFE


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