ISLAMABAD

Pakistan on Monday announced that all schools across the country will re-open from Jan. 18, after remaining closed for nearly two months due to the second wave of coronavirus. 

Announcing the decision in a news conference after a meeting of the provincial education ministers in the capital Islamabad, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said some 300,000 schools, colleges, and universities will reopen in phases starting from Jan. 18.

“All education institutions will reopen in phases, students from grade 8 to 11 will join schools from Jan. 18, while students in nursery to grade 8 will be back to schools from Jan. 25,” Mahmood said.

All universities and colleges across the country will re-open from Feb. 1, he added. The decision will also be applied on over 30,000 religious seminaries.

All exams, slated to be held in March, have been postponed until May and June.

On Nov. 26, 2020, the government had closed all schools to in-person education until Jan. 10 after the country was hit by the second wave of the novel disease.

In March last year, the government had closed education institutions nationwide, which reopened in September, following a significant drop in the number of coronavirus cases. However, since November, Pakistan has been facing spikes in daily cases.

New cases

The country’s National Health Institute on Monday confirmed the first two cases of the highly contagious coronavirus variant detected in the UK last month.

The cases had earlier reported by local health authorities in the southern Sindh province and were sent to the health institute last week for further confirmation.

The National Health Institute confirmed the two cases in individuals who had visited the UK.

The country reported 1,895 fresh infections over the last 24 hours, pushing the overall caseload to 488,529.

Another 39 patients lost their lives to the novel virus, bringing the death toll to 10,350. As many as 442,457 patients have recovered.

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