Coronavirus: China delays college entrance exam

Students sit in a classroom in Huaian, Jiangsu on March 30, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI/BEIJING • China will delay its national college entrance examination by a month as residents returning from abroad are fuelling new cases of Covid-19, and boosting concern over the threat of a second wave of coronavirus infections.

The two-day "gaokao" annual test will be pushed back to July 7 and 8, China Central Television said yesterday, with Hubei province, where the virus emerged late last year, and Beijing, the capital, being given more leeway in scheduling it.

The delay to the test, seen as opening the way to a life of opportunity and taken by more than 10 million students last year, is the latest sign of China's struggle to resume normal life after widespread lockdowns aimed at reining in the virus.

"China has slowed transmission of the virus and in so doing, has passed one peak in the outbreak," said Mr Tarik Jasarevic, a representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), adding that "the challenge now is to prevent a resurgence of new cases".

The epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region was "far from over", another WHO official said.

Last week, a study in British medical journal the Lancet Public Health recommended that China extend school and workplace closures, since an earlier relaxation of curbs could bring a second peak in the outbreak by August.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: China delays college entrance exam. Subscribe