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42 kindergartens, schools in Seoul ordered to close amid coronavirus scare

The Seoul city education office on Wednesday ordered a week-long suspension of classes for 42 kindergartens and schools in the two Seoul districts where a person infected with the new coronavirus had resided or moved around.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said it had ordered 5 kindergartens and elementary schools close to where one 33-year-old patient lives, as well as 37 kindergarten and schools within one kilometer from a place where the patient had stayed for some time, to be shut down.

Thirty-eighty schools in Jungnang-gu and Seongbuk-gu are set to suspend classes for the period of Feb. 6-13, given the 14-day incubation period. Four other schools in the two districts had already been closed.

The patient, who had visited the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus on Jan. 30. Since he returned to Korea on Jan. 24, he had visited a cinema, supermarkets and restaurants in the two districts before his infection was confirmed, according to the public health agency.

The number of kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools that voluntarily decided to close their doors stands at 372, with the majority in Gyeonggi Province.

As of Wednesday, South Korea had 19 confirmed cases of the virus.