Pakistan shuts schools to curb new coronavirus infections – education
Pakistan closed its schools and postponed exams on Thursday to try to curb new coronavirus infections and an increase in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
Students, including those from higher education institutions and private schools, are expected to continue distance classes until December 24, when schools are scheduled for winter break through January 11.
“Every effort will be made to ensure that education continues from home,” Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Monday, announcing the closure of schools, adding that “if the situation improves,” schools will reopen on the 11th. from January.
Pakistan reported 3,306 new cases on Wednesday and 40 deaths from the pandemic, with 2,485 patients currently admitted to hospitals, according to officials. So far there have been 386,198 total cases in the country and 7,843 deaths.
The decision to close the schools, authorities said, was based on an increase in the rate of positive test results in the country. The rate of people who tested positive in June reached 23%, but fell to a low of 1.7% in September. Since then, it has started to rise again, reaching 7.41% this week.
More than 19% of the new cases were from educational institutions, where the positive test rate nearly doubled in a week to 3.3%, authorities said Monday.
The South Asian country has ruled out a wide-ranging lockdown, opting to shut down non-essential public gatherings in a bid to keep the economy afloat during the pandemic.
“We don’t know what this winter will be like, so there is a bit of concern at the moment because our cases are increasing quite quickly these days,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said at an event organized by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. .
“We are only going to block what is not essential, in other words, public gatherings, etc., where our economy is not harmed.”
Pakistan closed educational institutions between March and September to combat the spread of the virus. State television and radio stations were used to broadcast student lessons at home to public school students.