October 27, 2009 11:28
The rapid spread of the H1N1 virus across Korea is sparking concerns among parents and students. Education authorities have formed an emergency task force in an effort to boost prevention of the virus, but the number of schools suspending classes is increasing exponentially.
As of Friday, a total of 10,664 students were either confirmed or suspected of H1N1 virus infection in 1,123 primary, middle and high schools in Seoul. Some 103 schools have partially or completely closed down for the time being in Seoul alone, including 12 kindergartens, 55 primary schools, 21 middle schools, 14 high schools and one special education school.
In Gyeonggi Province, 6,667 students from 1,056 schools and 77 teaching or administrative staff from 71 schools are either hospitalized or quarantined at home with H1N1 virus infections. Currently, 22 schools in the province are completely closed down.
In Busan, the number of confirmed infections among students is rising by 200 to 400 per day. "Between Oct. 12 and 16, the average number of newly-confirmed cases of H1N1 flu among students remained around 100 to 160, but it increased by two to four-fold last week," the local Busan health authority said.
The number of confirmed infections among students in Daejeon currently stands at 4,397 in 300 schools, and 2,535 students from 328 schools in South Chungcheong Province. A total of 31 schools including kindergartens have temporarily shut down in Daejeon, and seven in South Chungcheong Province.
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