All education institutions in Pakistan will reopen from Sept. 15, the country’s education minister announced on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference in the capital Islamabad, Shafqat Mahmood said all schools, colleges and universities, which were closed on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic, will strictly follow health guidelines formulated by the federal government.

“Provinces are authorized to close those institutions which do not follow the SOPs [standard operating procedure],” he said.

The government, however, he added, will review the virus situation in the first week of September before implementing its decision.

University dormitories, the minister said, shall operate at 30% capacity only.

Pakistan, which recorded its first COVID-19 case in late February, recently saw a decline in infections after a surge in June. It recorded 3,359 cases in the last 24 hours, a fall of over 3,000 from the peak of 6,895 on June 13.

The South Asian country has so far registered 240,847 cases, including 4,983 deaths and 145,311 recoveries.
Criticized for not implementing a strict lockdown, Pakistan’s premier Imran Khan has boasted his “smart lockdown” strategy that allows economic activity to continue.
While key border crossings with Iran and Afghanistan have reopened to allow trading activities, selected international and domestic flights have also resumed.

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