Vietnam schools reopen, New Zealand hits zero

BANGKOK (AP) – Students across Vietnam started returning to classrooms yesterday after being closed for three months to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“I am so excited to go back to school, to be with my teachers and my classmates after three months,” said Chu Quang Anh, a sixth-grade student at Dinh Cong secondary school in Hanoi, the capital.

The schools require masks among measures to minimise the risk of outbreaks.

“It is very important to apply preventive measures during this time. We have hand sanitisers available in many places. The students are scanned for temperature at the gate when they enter the school and when they are in the classrooms and their health is recorded,” teacher Dinh Bich Hien said.

Vietnam has confirmed 271 cases of COVID-19. It has not reported a new case in the community for nearly three weeks.

A student gets a temperature scan before entering Dinh Cong Secondary School in Hanoi, Vietnam. PHOTO: AP

All educational institutions were closed at the beginning of February when the first infections of the new coronavirus were reported in the country. All teaching activities were moved online. Last month, the country imposed travel restrictions and closed businesses for three weeks to contain the spread of the virus.

ZERO CASES IN NEW ZEALAND

For the first time since mid-March, New Zealand reported no new cases of the coronavirus. It’s an indication the country’s bold strategy of trying to eliminate the virus is working.

New Zealand closed its borders and imposed a strict month-long lockdown after the outbreak began. It eased the rules a little last week to help reopen the economy.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a decision would be made next Monday on whether to ease the rules further. “We cannot afford to squander the good work to date when our end goal is so close and within reach,” she said.

MALAYSIAN BUSINESSES REOPEN

Many business sectors reopened in parts of Malaysia as Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government sought to balance between curbing the virus and reviving the hard-hit economy.

But the move has split public opinion amid fears that the sudden reopening of economic activities could spark a new wave of infection.

Nine of the country’s 13 states, including the richest state Selangor, either refused to reopen or restricted the list of businesses that can operate. Mass gatherings and interstate travel remain banned.

Virus cases have dropped sharply in recent weeks but a slight rise of 227 infections was reported over the weekend. Malaysia has confirmed 6,298 cases, with 105 deaths.