8-day holiday canceled over A/H1N1 fears

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, October 1, 2009
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The eight-day-long National Day holiday was canceled in some Chinese high schools for fear of further A/H1N1 influenza outbreaks.

The decision was first announced in the Shandong University in east China, which posted a notice on its website on September 21, restricting students holidays to only October 1 and 4 (Sunday) and the afternoon of October 3 (Saturday).

The notice cited the reason as an outbreak of A/H1N1, as medical experts had warned that a week after the holiday would see a peak of A/H1N1 outbreaks.

Following suit were Shandong Normal University, Shandong Economic University, Shandong Institute of Light Industry, Shandong Jianzhu University, as well as some other colleges in northern parts of China like Shandong and Heilongjiang, Sichuan, Shaanxi.

"The holiday is long and students would go back to their hometown or out for tourism," said a teacher with the Qingdao Agricultural University in explanation to the decision. He noted that the flow of students would make it hard for the school to fend against A/H1N1.

To make up for the loss of students, the schools decided to lengthen the upcoming winter holiday.

Students showed understanding to the change but expressed their regret.

"I had decided to go back home during the holiday," said a freshman surnamed Guo from Shandong University. "But now it seems impossible."

An unnamed official with the education department of the Shandong Provincial government said that while middle and primary schools could enjoy an eight-day-long holiday, colleges could decide on their own initiative whether to cancel the holiday or not.

An outbreak of the virus occurred in September in many schools in China.

The central government has vowed to strengthen the prevention and control of A/H1N1 flu in the run-up to the National Day celebrations, amid fears that the situation would worsen through autumn.

By 3 p.m. Monday, China has reported 18,285 confirmed A/H1N1 cases on the mainland, including 13,407 who have recovered, according to a release on the website of the Health Ministry. There have been no deaths so far.

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