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Pakistan on Friday revised its decision of opening schools for junior classes and delayed it for one week. Image Credit: Agency

Islamabad: The Pakistan government had planned to resume primary school classes (1-8) on January 25, however after witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases, it has now changed its mind and given a new date of February 1, 2021.

A day earlier, the country had reported more than 3,000 cases in a period of twenty-four hours.

Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood after a meeting at the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday at a press conference announced the revised schedule for reopening of schools, according to which classes from 9 to 12 will start from January 18 as planned previously, while classes 1-8 will start from February 1 instead of January 25.

The universities will reopen w.e.f. February 1 as were decided in the previous meeting, he said.

Forced closure

Earlier, the participants of the meeting at the NCOC discussed the ongoing wave of COVID-19, which is considered as more lethal than the first one and had forced closure of educational institutions in order to protect students and teachers.

Shafqat Mahmood said this year, high school students would not be promoted without exams and therefore, it had been decided that their classes should resume as per schedule. Higher education institutions will reopen from February 1 along with primary and secondary schools.

The federal minister said that next week, the NCOC will review infection rates in different cities and districts before the reopening of universities and primary and middle schools.

Authorities will discuss whether education institutions in cities and districts where infection rate is high should remain closed or not, he added.

More than 2,000 new cases in twenty-four hours

Pakistan on Friday reported 2,417 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 45 deaths in the last twenty-four hours while there are 34,169 active cases in the country, according to the NCOC.

The number of recoveries during the past one day also crossed 2,000-mark i.e. 2,072 while the total recovered cases in the country stood at 469,306.

Karachi records highest positivity rate

The NCOC also revealed that Karachi with 15.97 per cent COVID-19 positivity rate against the national positivity rate of 5.9 per cent qualified to be Pakistan’s most adversely-hit city.

In a statement, the NCOC said Karachi was followed by Peshawar with 13.62 per cent positivity reate and Mirpur with 11.49 per cent.

The statement also said that 2,294 Covid-19 patients were currently in critical condition across Pakistan and the number of such patients was rising fast