Islamabad: At least 606 confirmed coronavirus cases were reported following 93,928 tests at educational institutions across Pakistan after the reopening of schools, colleges and universities from mid-September. The federal education ministry released the data, local media claimed. The low positivity ratio depicted that the COVID-19 situation was under control after which secondary schools were allowed to reopen under the second phase, officials said.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) – leading the country’s battle against coronavirus – allowed reopening of schools (from class six to eight) across the country from today after a six-month closure after the health situation improved in the country.
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Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, endorsed the resumption of classes since “there was no surge in cases of COVID-19” but called for strict implementation of health guidelines. The Sindh government, however, remains wary of opening all classes and decided to postpone reopening of secondary schools till September 28.
Schools flout health guidelines
Pakistan announced a phased opening of schools with mandatory temperature checks and the use of masks after a six-month closure but there have been several reports of safety violations. Last week, dozens of educational institutions across the country were closed down for failing to meet the safety rules announced by the government to curb the spread of virus. Both federal and provincial educational institutions have been conducting random COVID-19 tests of teachers, school staff and students for the coronavirus since September 15.
After witnessing a massive decline to 213 cases on August 30, Pakistan recorded a slight surge in cases with 532 cases and 8 deaths reported during the last 24 hours. The total number of active cases in the country now stands at 7,070, according to the Health Ministry. Pakistan has conducted over 3.2 million tests so far.