March 14, 2020 / 9:21 PM / 3 months ago

Mexico coronavirus fight gives students earlier, longer Easter vacations

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - In Mexico 33 million students will head into earlier and longer Easter vacations at the end of next week after Education Minister Esteban Moctezuma on Saturday announced measures to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

The health ministry said on Friday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased to 26 from 15 a day earlier. It has not confirmed any deaths from the fast-spreading virus.

Mexico’s Easter vacations will start on Friday, March 20, and last for 30 days instead of 15, Moctezuma said. Other measures include additional education on hygiene and sanitation.

“We don’t want that students leave for vacation and all stick together,” Moctezuma said during press conference, adding that students should avoid close contacts with others. “We want this to be preventative isolation.”

Earlier this week, governments of El Salvador, Panama and Peru all ordered short-term suspension of classes. Governments around the world, but mostly in Europe and Asia where there have been more cases, have announced similar measures.

Some 153,025 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 5,788 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Meanwhile, the health ministry and Mexico’s top tier soccer league, Liga BBVA MX, said certain matches scheduled for Saturday and Sunday as well as other tournaments will be played behind closed doors.

Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Noe Torres; Additional reporting by Adriana Barrera and Carlos Pacheco; Editing by Daniel Wallis and David Gregorio

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