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N. Korea postpones school opening amid coronavirus fears

All News 08:28 February 27, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has postponed the opening of kindergartens and schools across the country as part of efforts to prevent the outbreak of the new coronavirus, according to Pyongyang's state media Thursday.

The decision is the latest in a series of preventive measures by Pyongyang against the highly contagious COVID-19, which originated in neighboring China and has been spreading fast to many countries, including South Korea.

"Anti-infectious disease education and quarantine work is strongly under way from child care centers and kindergartens to colleges," the Korean Central Broadcasting Station, the North's radio broadcaster, reported. "Vacation for students has been extended to block the spread (of the coronavirus)."

It did not mention until when the opening will be delayed, nor did it specify which schools in which areas are subject to the decision. Observers say that it appears the postponement will be applied to all facilities for kids and students across the country.

Kindergartens and schools in North Korea are usually on vacation from January to mid-February, while colleges go on a one-month vacation in January.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed coronavirus infection but has intensified its anti-virus efforts by shutting down its border with China and Russia, and toughening quarantine criteria on people coming from foreign countries. It has also advised against gathering in public and canceled a major international marathon event scheduled for mid-April.

Observers still express concern that North Korea could be more vulnerable as it shares a long and porous border with China, and lacks key medical supplies and infrastructure to test and treat infected people.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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