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‘Education Ministry has no fears of H1N1 spread in schools’

By Laila Azzeh - Apr 08,2015 - Last updated at Apr 08,2015

AMMAN — The Education Ministry on Wednesday said there is no need to close down schools or suspend classes due to fears of the spread of H1N1 (swine) flu.

“We have not recorded any official cases of H1N1 in schools, but we are cooperating closely with the Health Ministry to ensure the safety of our students,” Education Ministry Spokesperson Walid Jallad told The Jordan Times.

Jallad noted that the ministry advises parents not to send their children to schools if they have flu-like symptoms and, instead, take them to a healthcare centre.

“We reassure parents that there is no need to panic,” the spokesperson said, adding that the ministry has taken a number of precautionary measures in coordination with the Health Ministry to raise awareness on ways to avoid catching H1N1 flu.

The measures include distributing pamphlets and acquainting students with the disease’s causes, symptoms and treatment.

In late March, parents in the Sama Sarhan Municipality of Mafraq did not send their children to school for a week over fears that they could catch the flu virus.

But Mafraq Governor Qasim Mheidat and a specialised medical team from the Health Ministry met with residents and community leaders of Sama Sarhan, some 80km northeast of Amman, and reached an understanding that the disease “is not a threat”.

Students returned to school the next week.

Despite registering six H1N1 flu-related deaths in Jordan since the beginning of the year, the Health Ministry insisted Tuesday that the disease is now considered a seasonal flu and there is no need to announce a state of emergency.

The number of diagnosed cases was similar to the same period last year, but they were not as heavily covered in the media at the time, the Health Ministry has said.

The ministry has registered 152 cases of H1N1 flu so far this year.

Earlier this week, officials said the Health Ministry is “well-prepared” to deal with new cases.

Mohammad Abdallat, director of the ministry’s communicable diseases control department, said in previous remarks that the fatalities registered this year were among high-risk groups, which include children under five, those over 65, dialysis patients, pregnant women and the obese.

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