The Government Office on February 2 night issued an urgent document allowingall kindergartens, schools and colleges across the country to close amid anon-going public health emergency caused by the new coronavirus 2019-nCOv.Thirty-three localities, including Hanoi and HCM City, immediately orderedschools and education facilities to close starting on Monday. Many schools willbe closed for a whole week.

Phan Thu Ngan, an office worker of a tech company in Hanoi, was only notifiedby her child’s kindergarten in the late hours of Sunday. Both Ngan andher husband had to go to work so she had to ask her mother tolook after the toddler for the week.

“But the notice came quite in a rush so I had to take a half-day of leavethis morning, waiting for my mum to arrive from the countryside. I’m goingto go back to work in the afternoon,” Ngan told VietnamPlus newspaper.

Another mother Nguyen Thu Thuy from Cau Giay district also sought help fromgrandparents to take care of her children – one in primary school and anotherin kindergarten.

She said that she took a day's leave on February 3 to take the kids back to herhometown in Tuyen Quang province, and planned to leave them there with theirgrandparents until next week when schools are set to reopen.

“Actually I’m relieved that the kids don’t have to go to school. They’re stillvery young so they don’t know how to protect and take care of themselvesagainst the disease. It would be worse if they caught the virus,” Thuysaid.

But not everyone could turn to their family for help.

Many parents on Monday shared pictures of their children going to work withthem on social media. Some expressed fears of taking their kids to crowdedworkplaces during the outbreak, but they had no other choice.

Mother Vu Thuy Dung said that she and her husband decided to takeleave in turn so there would always one parent at home with the kids.

“We also planned to send the children to their aunts and uncles.But we can only manage for one week. If schools remain closed for longer,we don’t know what we can do,” she said.

As of February 3 night, 50 provinces and cities out of 63 in thecountry have announced days off for students, with 30 allowing up to oneweek off (February 2-9), at least for the time being.

Tien Giang, Ninh Thuan and Hai Phong are closing schools for three days from February3 while Cao Bang and Soc Trang have students off on February 3 and 4.

The central province of Ha Tinh said the break will start from February 4 untilfurther notice, without signifying an end date.

Khanh Hoa, where a Vietnamese receptionist was infected with thecoronavirus due to contact with Chinese tourists, announced all schools wouldclose from February 3 until further notice./. VNA

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