All Singapore schools up to junior colleges will be closed until Sunday, 6 April, announced Education Minister Teo Chee Hean at a news conference on Wednesday evening.

This is the news as copy + paste from Channel News Asia:

This is a precaution against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which claimed its first death on Tuesday night.

The patient died under intensive care in the Tan Tock Seng hospital.

There have also been 5 new SARS cases in Singapore, bringing the total number infected to 74.

All the five new cases are hospital staff. Ten of the 74 patients are still in serious condition.

Singapore has also decided to close all schools up to junior college level from Thursday till 6 April.

The closure covers pre-primary, primary, secondary, junior colleges and centralised institutes.

The current school term will instead be extended into the June school holidays to make up for the time lost.

This will affect 600,000 students.

Only Singapore’s polytechnics, institutes of technical education and universities will stay open.

The move was announced at a media briefing by Singapore’s Education and Health ministers.

The closure is in response to concerns among many Singapore parents over the SARS outbreak.

Health Minister Lim Hng Kiang said: “There’s no need for us to over-react, and be completely panicky. At the same time we should not be overly complacent.

“Say for example tomorrow (Thursday) when we close the schools, I hope parents won’t take it lightly and send the kids to the shopping centres and they congregate there. Then it defeats the whole purpose.

“I think the whole idea of closing the school is to minimise big groups of students having close contacts, and that’s the reason why sports and competitions are all closed.

“So I think Singaporeans must be educated on the nature of SARS and take the appropriate measures, working with us to deal with it.”

This is getting worst.