Islamabad: Pakistan has recorded 752 coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time in more than a month, taking the total number of infections to 304,386 and sparking fears that the reopening of schools will trigger another virus spike.
The last time a similar number of cases were reported in the country was on August 15 after which a consistent decline was witnessed dropping to even 213 cases on August 30. There are currently a total of 6,295 active coronavirus cases in the country. Pakistan has conducted over 3 million tests since March, according to the Health Ministry.
Today, the Sindh government decided to delay the resumption of secondary classes (grade 6-8) by a week amid concerns over violation of safety rules. At a press conference in Karachi, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said that the reopening of schools was one of the hardest decisions after the lockdown was eased as the health of students “cannot be compromised”. He cautioned that the health situation could aggravate with more students joining the classes which is why the provincial government has postponed the reopening of more classes till September 28.
The city administration that reviewed the guidelines to ensure the safety of the children observed violations of health guidelines during the surprise visit to schools and colleges.
No change in schedule elsewhere in the country
Following the Sindh government’s announcement, Federal Minister Education Shafqat Mahmood said in a tweet that “There is no change regarding the timetable announced earlier after interprovincial meeting of education ministers.” He informed that the final decision to reopen secondary classes would be made after consultation at the September 22nd meeting of National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC). But if the health situation is satisfactory, there is “no reason to postpone 6 to 8 opening on September 23rd” he said.
Dozens of educational institutions shut over fears
More than 30 educational institutions across the country were closed down just two days after the reopening for failing to meet safety rules announced by the government to curb the spread of the virus. Pakistan announced a phased opening of schools, colleges and universities on Septembers 15 with mandatory temperature checks and the use of masks after six-month long closure. All higher educational institutions including universities, colleges and schools till grade 9 have opened in Pakistan while grades six through eighth grade will reopen in the second phase and finally, the primary school would resume from September 30.