School in N. Taiwan halts classes after two students contract Wuhan virus

Classmate of Taiwan’s case 59 tested positive for COVID-19, forcing school shutdown for one week

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CECC announces eight new COVID-19 cases in Taiwan. 

CECC announces eight new COVID-19 cases in Taiwan.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday (March 19) that a classmate of Taiwan's 59th Wuhan corornavirus (COVID-19) patient has also been infected and their high school will suspend classes until March 27.

While announcing the eight new COVID-19 cases during the daily press conference, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) pointed out that the country's 103rd case was a classmate of the teenage boy who contracted the disease after traveling to Greece with his family. Chen noted that the two students’ school in northern Taiwan will halt classes for one week, starting Friday (March 20).

The decision was made based on the Ministry of Education's (MOE) guidelines for school closures caused by the pandemic. Upon the discovery of two confirmed COVID-19 cases, the high school also became the first educational institution in Taiwan to suspend its entire campus.

The CECC explained that the 103rd case was already in quarantine, along with 66 individuals who are believed to have had close contact with the 59th case, when he displayed fever and a sore throat. It added that so far there is no sign of transmission clusters among the students, but the authorities cannot be certain until further analysis, reported UDN.

Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said that the government has prepared 10,000 surgical masks for students of the high school when they return next week. He emphasized that the students, while at home, will learn from online resources as well as video recordings from the teachers.

Pan said the class suspension is expected to affect all 1650 students at the school as well as 154 faculty members. He said that the ministry will inform the students and their parents about the make-up dates for the suspended classes, likely on weekends or during the summer vacation, reported Now News.