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Pakistan reopens schools, universities as Covid-19 shows downward trend

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By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA): Thousands of schools and colleagues across Pakistan will reopen from Tuesday, ending a six-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Pakistani Ministry of Education, all higher education institutions in the country will reopen from September 15, while students in grades 9 to 12 will also return to school on the same day.

“Tomorrow, we will welcome millions of children to school. It is our priority and our collective responsibility to ensure that every child can safely go to school to learn. We have been working to make sure school operations are aligned with public health safety rules on # COVID19, ”Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted.

Khan said his government has prepared standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure a safe teaching environment in educational institutions.

In March, Pakistan closed all educational institutions in the country following the coronavirus outbreak.

On September 7, the country’s Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, while announcing the reopening of some 300,000 schools, colleges and universities, said he would reopen educational institutions in stages to avoid a new wave of the virus .

If all goes well, Grades 6 to 8 will return to school on September 23, while Kindergarten to Grade 5 will return to school on September 30, ”said Mahmood.

More than 30,000 religious seminars across the country will also reopen in stages from Tuesday.

According to the SOPs released by the government, masks will be mandatory for all teachers and students, while schools, colleges and university administrations will provide sensitizers at the front doors.

Pakistan is among the few countries to have seen a dramatic drop in the number of daily coronavirus cases, from nearly 7,000 to 200 in recent months, with deaths from the new virus hovering in single digits every day.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) also praised Islamabad and some other countries for handling the coronavirus crisis well and said the world can learn from these countries.

“Pakistan has deployed the infrastructure that has been in place for many years for polio to fight COVID-19. Community health workers who were trained to go door-to-door to immunize children against polio have been used for surveillance, contact tracing and care, ”said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of polio. ‘WHO during a briefing.

“There are many more examples we could give including Cambodia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain, Vietnam and more,” Tedros added. .

Pakistan has so far recorded 302,020 cases, of which 289,806 have recovered, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 stands at 6,383.

The government is currently following a “smart mini lockdown” strategy. According to this plan, authorities only close homes or workplaces where infections are reported, instead of shutting down the entire area, street or mall.

[Photo: Members of Health & Fitness Association demand the government to allow them to resume their activity to fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2020.Photographer: Sabir Mazhar/AA]

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