Pakistan: Schools to remain closed till April 11

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Schools in Pakistan that are situated in coronavirus hotspot areas will remain closed till April 11, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood has declared.

He was speaking to the media after an important meeting of education and health ministers at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to decide on the closing of schools amid an unprecedented increase of coronavirus cases in the region.

The number of COVID-19 active cases has doubled in the last three weeks although the positivity ratio has held above 8 percent in the last few days. According to the NCOC numbers, the number of active cases was 17,352 on March 6 which reached 36,849 on Wednesday.

Mehmood said the government would have a consultation with the Cambridge exams board to see if tests can be delayed or not. Board exams of classes nine to 12 would be conducted as per the timetable, he added.

We have noticed that the amount of cases in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir has risen, he added. We have seen that the number of cases in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir has increased, he said. “The number of infections is relatively less in Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Balochistan,” Mehmood said.

The education minister said keeping in view the coronavirus condition, the provincial governments will determine the districts where educational institutions will remain closed.

Mehmood said the government is cognizant of the reality that the closing of educational institutions is impacting the schooling of children. However, he said the welfare of children is our main focus.

The federal minister said that the next meeting of the education and health ministers will be held on April 7 to discuss the entire situation.