Health

Vietnamese children return to school as COVID-19 restrictions eased

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, May 11 (efe-epa).- Most Vietnamese students were back in schools on Monday after more than two months, as authorities gradually eased restrictions imposed since Feb.2 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

With schools opening in the two biggest urban areas, capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as many other provinces, a long period of children missing classrooms – which came just after the Vietnamese New Year vacations starting Jan 23 – is finally coming to an end.

The reopening process of Vietnamese educational institutions, which cater to around 22 million students, has progressed gradually, depending on the decisions of provincial governments.

Millions of high school students had already returned to classrooms last week, but some provinces have continued closures.

On Apr. 23, the ministry of education published a series of guidelines for opening the educational centers, including the compulsory wearing of masks for both students and teachers, recording temperatures before entering the premises and maintaining a safe distance inside the classrooms.

Vietnam, with 288 cases of the coronavirus and no deaths so far, has been touted as a successful example of containing the coronavirus outbreak, despite being a neighbor of China – the original epicenter of the pandemic – and not having access to a sturdy healthcare system.

The success of Vietnam – where no new infections have been detected in the last 24 days – is a result of early preventive measures such as widespread testing, targeted lockdowns of areas where cases had been detected, and the quick suspension of commercial flights and travel to and from China.

The government has been gradually relaxing the restrictions to contain the epidemic and has opened lockdowns in major cities from Apr. 23.

However, all gatherings of more than 30 people, as well as sports events, festivals, and religious functions, continue to be banned. Wearing facemasks in public has been made mandatory for everyone. EFE-EPA

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