Singapore to reopen schools as local virus transmission recedes – dpa international


KUALA LUMPUR – Singapore’s schools and kindergartens will open again on Monday, the country’s Ministry of Education announced on Thursday, allaying concerns a week of holidays could be extended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Singapore’s coronavirus cases increased from 178 to 313 over the past week and is the second-highest in south-east Asia after Malaysia’s 790.

Schools will deploy “enhanced precautionary measures” that will include daily temperature checks and “wipe-down routines” in classrooms when they return, the ministry said.

Singapore has seen a reduction in locally transmitted cases of coronavirus, but the Health Ministry announced a new daily record high of 47 positive diagnoses on Wednesday night. Of the new cases, 33 were described as “imported.”

Of the new cases, 30 were returning Singaporeans, 19 of whom had recently flown home from Europe.

The novel strain of coronavirus has unleashed a global pandemic, whose epicentre has now shifted to Europe, since it jumped from an unknown animal species to the human population in December.

The Education Ministry on Thursday said that teachers or students who had been overseas and returned anytime from March 14 would be given a two-week “leave of absence.”

It came after authorities said Singaporeans returning from abroad would have to “self-isolate” for 14 days, the maximum estimated incubation period for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

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