Schools likely to open in September as scheduled

Saturday, July 25, 2009
Issue 773, Page 3
Word count: 566
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Health Bureau (SS) said yesterday local schools were expected to start the new academic year as normal in the beginning of September.

To date Macau had reported altogether 149 Influenza A (H1N1) cases, of which 113 patients were fully recovered and discharged from the hospital.

According to SS director Lei Chin Ion, the suspension of summer classes in schools had been effective to “temporarily control” the influenza outbreak in Macau.

However, he said that since it was unlikely to freeze the spread of the H1N1 virus in the community and classes could not be halted in a long-term, the SS expected that the new academic year should be able to commence in September as scheduled yet preventive health measures must have to be in place.

Mr Lei also said that the authorities would try to avoid ceasing all schools in Macau if in the new academic years students were reported to have contracted H1N1. He said that if the situation was not very serious, only the class where the infected students were in would be suspended in order to minimise the impact on schools.

The SS will start shortly discussions with the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau regarding measures and arrangements to be implemented in September.

Meanwhile, six newly confirmed A (H1N1) cases were reported in Macau yesterday which were all found on females aged from 17 to 41 years old.

Of the four imported cases, three were from the Sacred Heart Canossian College who are going to study in Form 6 after summer.

The three students were in Hong Kong for student exchange activities between July 16 and 22.

Among the seven people in the trip, four developed flu symptoms starting July 18. Three of them later tested positive for H1N1 virus, while the other one was still being tested.

As of yesterday, Macau accumulated 149 A (H1N1) cases, in which 78 were males and 71 were females aged from four months old to 63 years old, and 64 were locally infected and 85 were imported.

The patients included 13 Judiciary Police (PJ) investigators and two medical staff members at Conde de São Januário Hospital (CHCSJ).

“They [PJ and CHCSJ cases] showed that the H1N1 virus is highly contagious with a short latency period. Although most of the patients could be recovered, once collective cases are reported in a department or company, it will cause certain impact to the operation,” Mr Lei said.

According to the World Health Organization, the SS director said the influenza pandemic will continue to evolve and a second wave of H1N1 flu may emerge this winter, which could cause “a large number of people being infected within a very short period of time in a region”.

Hence, companies were urged to pay attention to employees’ health conditions and residents should also be aware of hygiene and follow health guidelines, Mr Lei added.

On the other hand, CHCSJ president Chan Wai Sin said the hospital’s isolation ward had 15 A (H1N1) patients who were all in good and stable conditions after nine people were discharged yesterday.

In regard to the 18 confirmed flu patients who could receive treatment at home, Mr Chan said five had already completed the program.

In addition, more 157 people were put under home observation over the past week, taking the total number to 164. Among them, seven were later found to have contracted A (H1N1).

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