Opening of universities postponed due to coronavirus

02/03/2020 09:09 PM
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Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) The reopening of colleges and universities in Taiwan following the winter break has been postponed to after Feb. 25 in an effort to combat the spread of the fatal novel coronavirus, that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Monday.

Meanwhile, Taiwan had previously postponed the entry of Chinese students studying in the country for two weeks, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 9 and that will now be extended, according to the CECC after approving a proposal from the Ministry of Education.

To better protect the rights of Chinese students, the Ministry of Education will provide subsidies for schools to design mechanisms to provide such students with multiple options for flexible course-taking, such as video conferencing, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said.

The measure came after the CECC announced a day earlier that the reopening of schools in Taiwan at the high school level and lower will be delayed two weeks. Schools will now not reopen until Feb. 25.

The Ministry of Education and representatives of tertiary education institutions around the country reached a consensus at a meeting Monday that the winter break should be extended to prevent the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Taiwan with the second semester likely to begin on March 2, according to Shih Chien University President Michael Chen (陳振貴).

Colleges and universities were scheduled to open Feb. 10 or Feb. 17 but most are now expected to open on March 2, Chen said.

Later Monday, a number of schools including National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, National Chiao Tung University, National Tsing Hua University, National Yang-Ming University, National Cheng Kung University, National Taiwan Ocean University, Feng Chia University, I-Shou University and Shih Hsin University announced they will reopen on March 2.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originating in Wuhan, China has spread to 24 countries alarming public health authorities across the world.

A total of 17,386 (including 17,238 in China, Hong Kong and Macau) confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection including 362 deaths (including one in the Philippines) have been reported across the world as of Feb. 2.

Taiwan has 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.

(By Phoenix Hsu and Evelyn Kao)

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