Hong Kong health authorities on Friday asked kindergartens and childcare centers to suspend classes for one week if there was a flu outbreak among their students.

A total of 191 kindergartens and childcare centers in the city were advised by the government on Friday to shut down the school, starting Saturday, Apple Daily reported.

Any school which recorded three or more students infected by influenza within 96 hours were asked to close for seven days from Saturday.

Dr Wong Hing-kar, the controller of the Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health, said the outbreaks had been extraordinary and the government decided it needed to take stronger preventive measures, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.

The decision was made after an inter-departmental meeting headed by health minister Sophia Chan on Thursday.

On Thursday, the health department announced that 85 students from three kindergartens and a primary school in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon Tong, Hung Hom and Wan Chai recorded influenza A outbreaks.

The health department figures showed that from January 13 to 17, there were 91 outbreaks recorded in kindergartens and childcare centers, while 21 cases were recorded in primary schools. Five elderly centers also had flu outbreaks.

Since the city entered the influenza season at the end of December, by January 15, a total of 113 severe cases of influenza had been recorded, causing 44 adults deaths.

Read: Influenza A strikes in Hong Kong kindergartens