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Moscow to shut all schools due to flu

Moscow and at least two other Russian cities will close their elementary schools for a week because of a major flu outbreak that has mostly affected the young, media reports said Saturday.

Grades one to eight of all Moscow schools will close Monday and only reopen the following week, Komsomolskaya Pravda quoted a spokesman for the city’s education department as saying.

“Even today, some classes are already missing half their students,” said an official with Moscow’s health control service, which recommended the shutdown Friday.

Nearly 92,000 Muscovites are currently suffering from the flu or respiratory infections, with more than 52,000 of them children, the city’s public health department chief Leonid Pechatnikov told Interfax.

The shutdown does not affect Moscow kindergartens or ninth through 11th grades, Komsomolskaya Pravda said.

A similar week-long closure will also go into effect in the industrial Ural city of Chelyabinsk and Russia’s northern Far East town of Yakutsk, RIA Novosti quoted local administration officials as saying.

Partial school shutdowns have also affected other regions of central Russia.

At least two deaths have also been reported because of the flu, with one case involving a two-year-old girl, RIA Novosti said.