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Singapore to shut schools amid warnings of new strains

Singapore is preparing to close down most schools from this week following warnings that new coronavirus variants, such as the one first detected in India, are affecting more children.

According to the city-state’s Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, all primary, secondary and junior colleges will shift to full home-based learning from Wednesday until the end of the school term on May 28.

“Some of these [virus] mutations are much more virulent, and they seem to attack the younger children,” Mr. Chan said on Monday.

None of the children who have contracted the virus are seriously ill and a few have mild symptoms, he added.

On Sunday, Singapore confirmed thirty-eight locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since mid-September, with seventeen currently unlinked.

The cases included four children linked to a cluster at a tuition centre.

Health Minister On Ye Kung said on Monday that the B1617 strain — sometimes called the Indian double mutant variant — appeared to affect children more.

It was not clear how many children had contracted the strain.

Singapore has recorded more than 61,000 COVID-19 cases, with the bulk linked to outbreaks last year in foreign worker dormitories, and thirty-one deaths.

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