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Holiday canceled in colleges over swine flu fears

The eight-day-long National Day holiday was canceled in some Chinese universities for fear of further swine flu outbreaks.

The decision was first announced in the Shandong University in east China, which posted a notice on its Website on September 21, restricting students holidays to only October 1 and 4 (Sunday) and the afternoon of October 3 (Saturday).

The notice cited the reason as an outbreak of swine flu, also known as A/H1N1, as medical experts had warned that a week after the holiday would see a peak of its outbreaks.

Following suit were Shandong Normal University, Shandong Economic University, Shandong Institute of Light Industry, Shandong Jianzhu University, as well as some other colleges in Heilongjiang, Sichuan and Shaanxi.

To make up for the loss of students, the schools decided to lengthen the upcoming winter holiday.

Students showed understanding to the change but expressed their regret.

"I had decided to go back home during the holiday," said a freshman surnamed Guo from Shandong University. "But now it seems impossible."

An unnamed official with the education department of the Shandong Provincial government said that while middle and primary schools could enjoy an eight-day-long holiday, colleges could decide on their own initiative whether to cancel the holiday or not.

An outbreak of the virus occurred in September in many Chinese schools.

The central government has vowed to strengthen the prevention and control of swine flu in the run-up to the National Day celebrations, amid fears that the situation would worsen through autumn.

By 3pm Monday, China has reported 18,285 confirmed cases on the mainland, including 13,407 who have recovered, according to a release on the Website of the Health Ministry. There have been no deaths so far.


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