The Minsk City Center of Hygiene and Epidemiology insists that the fall school vacation be extended until November 15.
The vacation, which began on October 26, was initially scheduled to end on November 1, but it was extended amid the flu outbreak two times, first until November 6 and then until November 11 inclusive. The extension of the vacation until November 11 is estimated to have prevented up to 15,000 new cases of flu and other acute respiratory diseases among schoolchildren, Alena Fisenka, a departmental head at the city epidemiology center, told BelaPAN.
The number of new cases more than doubled among adults in the last two weeks but remained at similar levels among children, the expert noted.
"Given the fact that we are facing the peak of the incidence of flu and other acute respiratory diseases, it would be wise if children remained isolated," Ms. Fisenka said.
According to Ms. Fisenka, some 65,000 cases of flu and other acute respiratory infections have been diagnosed in Minsk over the last week, including 12,175 on November 9 with flu cases accounting for 34 percent of them.
"We can suggest that the most part of flu cases account for cases of H1N1, or swine flu," the expert said. "Statistical data on laboratory-confirmed cases are different, but they don't reflect the true situation."
Nadzeya Vyalikaya, of the city executive committee’s ideology department, told BelaPAN that no decision had yet been taken whether to extend the vacation once again.