Hong Kong authorities on Friday announced the closure of primary schools for two weeks starting next week in the wake of rising coronavirus cases, local media reported.

Health Secretary Sophia Chan said face-to-face classes for primary school grades 1 to 3 will be suspended for two weeks, according to Radio Television Hong Kong.

Last week, the city government also ordered to close kindergartens for a fortnight due to outbreaks of upper respiratory tract infections.

“It was worrying that the various infection control measures in place failed to prevent those outbreaks, and this doesn’t bode well for the new wave of COVID-19 infections,” the report quoted Chan as saying.

“As the transmission routes of upper respiratory tract infections and COVID-19 are similar, if COVID-19 spreads at schools, the risk posed to the community is very high,” she added.

The health secretary warned that the situation is deteriorating rapidly in the territory and urged people to be extra vigilant and avoid unnecessary gatherings.

According to Chan, the authorities will assess the situation later as to whether the suspension needs to be extended.

On Friday, the city state reported 26 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 5,491.

So far, 108 people have died, while 5,233 have recovered, according to health authorities.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid ​​​​​​​

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