KABUL, Afghanistan 

Schools reopened across Afghanistan Saturday in a trial following months of closure due to the novel coronavirus.

In line with the move, private schools were allowed to commence all classes. However, the relatively ill-equipped public sector schools were only allowed to resume higher classes for 11th and 12th-grade students.

Education Ministry spokesperson Najia Nuzhat said schools’ administrations across the country had been advised to ensure full compliance with the health advisory to avoid spreading the COVID-19 disease. She said further guidelines would be released for the resumption of public schools for lower-grade children.

The Health Ministry has set-up a free hotline for any complaints on violations of social distancing and the provision of hygiene resources. As part of the proposed plan, mobile teams from the ministry will monitor academic institutions for compliance with these regulations.

Afghanistan came face to face with the pandemic some three months after the virus was first detected in China in December 2019. The threat came to the country’s western border with Iran when thousands of Afghan refugees began returning daily with evident signs of the virus from February onwards.

The latest figures by the Health Ministry indicate that 59 fresh cases of the disease were confirmed in the past 24 hours, raising the overall total to 37,953, including 1,385 deaths and 27,990 recoveries.

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