CORONAVIRUS/Students, teachers barred from overseas travel under Cabinet decision

03/16/2020 09:16 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, March 16 (CNA) Students and teachers at senior and junior high schools as well as elementary schools around Taiwan will all be prohibited from overseas travel until the end of the current semester, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Monday, citing a Cabinet decision.

The decision was made after a high school student was confirmed Sunday to have contracted the coronavirus disease COVID-19, with the source of infection suspected to be in Greece, which the student had been touring with his family since January, returning to Taiwan on March 5.

The confirmed case, which occurred in northern Taiwan, resulted in the other students in his class ordered to be placed in home quarantine for 14 days.

The CECC announced the ban at a daily briefing, noting that the new ruling will be effective until the end of the semester, which started following a two-week delay on Feb. 25 and as a result, is scheduled to end on July 14.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education released a statement that all overseas visit programs having been planned by senior high, junior high and elementary schools will be halted from Tuesday.

Those who need to undertake such tours can apply for permits from the ministry, but only under special conditions, the statement said.

The Cabinet's decision came in the wake of announcements by several cities and counties, including Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan, that students and teachers at non-university/college schools will be barred from overseas trips until July due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Taipei Department of Education announced that students and teachers in the city's high schools or under are barred from traveling abroad until July 14.

Although there can be exceptions, such as cases in which students have to take part in competitions overseas, they will be required to seek prior approval from the education department, it said.

Also, events and exchange programs with foreign schools that were initially halted until April 30 will have the ban further extended to July 14, the department added.

As of Monday, there had been 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan, with one death, since the highly contagious disease emerged in China late last year.

Including Taiwan, nearly 140 nations and areas have experienced infections, with the number of deaths surpassing 6,000 globally, according to CECC data.

(By Wang Hung-kuo, Ko Lin and Elizabeth Hsu)

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