COVID-19-hit Heilongjiang suspends offline classes in Harbin; schools in China-Russia border city Heihe put under closed-loop management
Published: Oct 31, 2021 09:53 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

As the origin of the latest COVID-19 flare-up in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province remains unknown, offline education will be suspended in capital city Harbin and all primary and middle schools in China-Russia border city Heihe will be subject to closed-loop management, as the two cities in the province hit the hardest in this round of resurgence. 

According to China's National Health Commission (NHC), the province reported a total of 19 new local cases on Saturday, including 18 in Heihe and one in Harbin. 

Harbin's education authority announced on Sunday that all kindergartens, primary and middle schools in the city will suspend offline education for one week from Monday. 

While no compulsory requirement of online education was posed for kindergarten and primary school grade one and grade two students, students in primary schools grade three and above to students from senior high schools and vocational schools will take online lessons. 

While in Heihe, the hardest hit city in the province in this latest outbreak, all primary and high schools will suspend classes and a total of 23,855 school faculties and students have been organized to take nucleic acid tests in batches. 

At present, all primary and high schools in Heihe are under closed-loop management and the city has launched a reporting mechanism to precisely grasp the information of teachers, students and their co-inhabitants. 

Besides, the local education authority also assured students from impoverished families and disabled or isolated students to have personalized plans for their study and will strengthen supervision on online education. 

The epidemic in Heihe has been developing rapidly since the first case was reported on October 27, the NHC noted on Saturday at a press briefing. However, this resurgence is not related to the recent local outbreaks in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Gansu and other provinces, and is caused by a new imported virus strain, according to the current results of epidemiological investigations and virus sequencing results, the national health authority said. 

At present, the new cases are mainly detected through city-wide screening and proactive medical consultations, indicating that local community transmission has occurred and there exists a risk of overspills to other provinces. 

The health authority has sent a working group to Heihe to direct the screening, nucleic acid testing, epidemiological investigations and emergency response work. 

Qiqihar, another city in Heilongjiang, has launched city-wide nucleic acid testing among several counties neighboring Heihe as the entire city has entered an emergency status. 

All residents in Qiqihar are required to obtain negative nucleic acid testing results within 48 hours before they leave the city starting Sunday. 

Global Times