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Flu fears shut third school

A THIRD school in two days was shut on orders of the Education Ministry after a new case of swine flu was confirmed yesterday.

The infection of a 10-year-old Bahraini boy from Al Noor International School, Sitra, is said to be 'mild' and he is being kept in isolation at home.

The boy, from East Riffa, had returned to school when it

reopened for primary classes on September 8, but he was absent for the last three days, according to officials.

The move follows directives by the ministry issued earlier that any school reporting a confirmed case of swine flu amongst staff or pupils would be forced to close for a week.

Schools will also be shut for seven days if at least 10 per cent of pupils (5pc in kindergartens) are found to have common flu-like symptoms.

Al Noor International School official said that it has been following all the government directives.

"We have been extremely proactive in checking all our students and staff since we reopened, in keeping with the directives of the Health and Education ministries," he said.

"Less than 10 students have so far been detected with high fever and all of them have been temporarily isolated and their parents summoned."

"However, the child's name does not figure in a list of students that were detected with high body temperature during earlier checks at the school," he said.

The official said following the order, the school would be closed today and will reopen after the Eid break on September 27.

"All directives of the authorities are being followed and implemented and there will be no let-up in that. We have also deputed more staff to take care of the extra workload," he said.

The Education Ministry said in a statement the school was being shut as a precaution so that staff and students do not get infected.

"We will now co-ordinate with the Health Ministry to follow up on the case," said a ministry spokesman.

Health Ministry school health services chief Dr Mariam Harmas Al Hajeri said they would follow up with the school to ensure the infection had not spread.

"We have to be careful that more students do not catch the virus," she said.

Dr Al Hajeri said the Al Noor International School students' case was "mild" and he is in isolation at home. She said both ministries will also co-ordinate on other steps to take in the coming weeks. "With all of Bahrain's schools reopening after the Eid break, we have to be very much on our guard," said Dr Al Hajeri.

Two other private schools - Naseem International School in Riffa and the French School in Busaiteen - were closed down on Tuesday, as three pupils tested positive for swine flu.

Two were at Naseem International School and the third at the French School.

Officials said all three cases were "mild" and that the children were under home isolation.

Another private school was warned about shortfalls in following procedures set up by the Education and Health ministries to combat an outbreak of swine flu on Tuesday.

Bahrain's Philippine School was the first school to be closed for a week, when a 12-year-old student, who had just returned from the Philippines, was diagnosed with the virus in July.

mandeep@gdn.com.bh



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