China's schools prepare for new semester -- and A/H1N1

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Chinese schools and universities are ready to fight the A/H1N1 influenza virus during the new semester starting on September 1.

Beijing will provide free traditional Chinese medicine to prevent A/H1N1 infection for 3 million students in primary schools, middle schools and universities, said an official of the Beijing Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The medicine will be distributed in schools and students can take the granular infusion voluntarily, the official said.

Health monitoring would be launched in educational institutions and the condition of students' health was expected to be reported to the CDC daily, the official said.

Military training which takes up students' time for weeks or even months will be required to be rearranged, the official said.


Students of Beijing No. 2 Experiment Primary School queue for temprerature check at the school gate in Beijing, China, on Sep. 1, 2009. Middle schools and primary schools started the new semester in China on Tuesday. [Xinhua]

 A/H1N1 might begin spreading earlier than previous flu and its effects might be more pronounced with ordinary flu happening at the same time, he said.

The Beijing municipal government will begin to offer flu vaccinations in September and complete its program in late October.

Free vaccinations will be provided to 1.8 million residents who are 60 years or older as well as all primary and middle school students.

Temperature monitoring has already started in some Shanghai schools as students register for the new semester.

Students, parents and teachers queued in front of Shanghai Meilong Central Primary School on early Monday to have their temperatures taken.

"The situation is still very severe. We need to do more for flu prevention," said school master Wu Min.

The school required parents to measure their children's temperature at home last semester but some parents were not cooperative, so the school had to take action, Wu said.

Teachers will be required to observe students in class and report the situation every day, Wu said.

A letter had been sent to parents to notify them to keep an eye on their children's health and students who have flu symptoms are asked quarantine themselves. The school also promised to make up missed lessons for sick students.

In Central China's Henan Province, all 2,700 students of a senior high school have been sent home after an outbreak of A/H1N1flu was reported, in which 80 students were confirmed infected.

Those infected from the No. 3 Senior High School in Xin'an County, Luoyang City, capital of Henan, had been admitted to four hospitals, said an official with the provincial health department.

An expert team of 60 doctors has been set up by the Luoyang Municipal Health Bureau and 10 supervising teams have been set up by Luoyang Education Bureau to monitor prevention work in schools and colleges.

Health and education bureaus have also combined to fight against flu in east China's Fujian Province.

Posters showing flu prevention instructions have been posted in classrooms. Morning health monitoring is also required throughout the province and health conditions should be reported before 3 p.m. every day, said an official with the provincial education department.

At 3 p.m. Monday, Chinese mainland had reported 3,757 A/H1N1 flu cases, of which 3,249 have recovered. No deaths have been reported, said the Ministry of Health.

(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2009)


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