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Hong Kong to close in-person classes at secondary schools due to COVID-19 outbreaks

Hong Kong to close in-person classes at secondary schools due to COVID-19 outbreaks
Secondary school students are seen in Hong Kong on April 26, 2021. Officials said on Thursday that in-person classes at secondary schools will close beginning Monday due to a rise in COVID-19 infections. File Photo by Anthony Kwan/EPA-EFE

Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The government in Hong Kong said Thursday that it's decided to close all in-person classes at secondary schools on the island for at least the next couple of weeks, due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Chinese territory.

Hong Kong has already closed in-person classes for primary schools due to concerns about rising and untraceable infections. The closure of secondary schools will take effect on Monday.

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Officials said in-person classes at secondary schools won't resume until sometime after the Lunar New Year, which is Feb. 7.

Authorities in Hong Kong have expressed concern about a "very severe" rise in COVID-19 cases that stem from an undetermined source. The closure of secondary schools comes after students from three different schools tested positive for the coronavirus.

"The pandemic is getting very severe, with some invisible and visible transmissions in our communities," Chuang Shuk-kwan, an expert at Hong Kong's Center for Health Prevention, told The Hong Kong Free Press.

The move is the latest curb ordered by the government in Hong Kong. Earlier this month, a ban was ordered on indoor dining after 6 p.m. and certain businesses -- including gyms and movie theaters -- were closed until further notice.

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Authorities in Hong Kong have also received criticism in recent days for ordering 2,000 small animals to be euthanized after a few of them tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials have defended the move, although most scientists say that it's unlikely that animals can pass on the coronavirus to humans.

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