Hong Kong students wore mandatory face masks and had their temperature checked by going to exam rooms on Friday to take crucial university entrance tests, delayed one month due to the pandemic coronavirus.
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Tens of thousands of students will take high school diploma (DSE) exams at hundreds of centers over the next month at the financial center, which reported no new cases of the virus on Friday.
Strict social distancing measures were put in place at test sites when classrooms were converted to additional examination rooms to allow students to sit at least six feet (1.8 meters) away.
At a school in Kwai Chung district, robots were used to disinfect desks and chairs one hour before the start of the first exam. They distributed hand sanitizer to students in the waiting room and even made encouraging comments.
All applicants must wear masks, go through shoe and hand disinfection areas, submit health declaration forms and undergo temperature checks before entering the centers.
Supervisors were wearing gloves on Friday while distributing papers and hand sanitizer to students on the first day of the exam season, which was originally scheduled to start on March 27.
About 3,300 students took Friday’s visual arts exams, while more than 50,000 students will take core subjects exams on Monday.
The education office prepared 200,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for students.
The daily number of new infections in Hong Kong is now single-digit for 13 consecutive days.
The city has registered 1,035 cases of COVID-19 since January, with four deaths.
Despite its proximity to the Chinese mainland where the deadly virus was detected for the first time, the financial center has managed to ward off a rampant epidemic – thanks in part to the public who massively embrace masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing.
Earlier in the week, the city extended strict rules to May 7, including banning gatherings of more than four people, closing entertainment venues, and a minimum of 1.5 meters between restaurant tables.
Encouraging statistics from Hong Kong has led to an increase in calls and hope that the city’s measures will be relaxed after the current extension.
The COVID-19 crisis has dispelled the mass protests that seized the semi-autonomous Chinese city for seven consecutive months last year.
But on Friday, a group of around 30 people gathered at the IFC shopping center for a pro-democracy lunch gathering, during which participants followed the guidelines on social distancing.