Pakistan school covid sanitise
A teacher and a worker sanitise hands and shoes of students wearing face mask to protect against coronavirus upon their arrival at a school in Karachi, Pakistan. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday reported 3,097 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours while 46 people lost their lives to the deadly virus in the same period. The total number of deaths now stands at 10,818.

The total number of infections are reported to be 511,921 since the outbreak of virus in the country in February last year.

According to the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) this is first time in a period of three weeks that the country’s single-day infections have crossed the 3,000 mark. Last time the country reported over 3,000 cases on December 18, 2020.

According to the National Health Ministry’s website, Pakistan’s active cases are still over 33,000 which is an alarming figure while 2,410 are in critical condition.

Pakistan has almost concluded the phase three of the human trials of a Chinese vaccine and the health authorities are confident that tests of Sinopharm vaccine will be completed in a day or two as the vaccine was showing promising results.

Pakistan is one of the seven countries testing the Chinese vaccine and the only hurdle in import of Sinopharm will be removed with its Phase-I trial in Karachi reaching the final stage.

In a separate development, the federal government has decided to implement the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Ordinance in three major hospitals of Sindh and one major hospital of Punjab after it had been introduced in Pakis¬tan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

As Pakistan is set to open schools from Monday, January 18, Education Minister of Punjab has asked the parents to send their children to schools

Punjab Minister for School Education Murad Raas has called upon the parents to send their children back to school on the scheduled dates for phase-wise reopening of educational institutions.

First wave

In a tweet, he has assured them COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be implemented and the provincial government will do it even more strictly this time than during the first wave of the virus.

Educational institutions in the country are opening in phases and according to the plan, in the first phase, Grade-9 to Grade-12 would be allowed to resume from Jan 18.

In the next phase, class-1 to class-8 would resume on Jan 25. All higher educational institutions would resume from Feb 1.

Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood and Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on health Dr Faisal Sultan at a press conference earlier this month had announced that the teachers and administrative staff would be allowed to come back to schools one week before the opening date.