Thursday Feb 27 2020

Balochistan, Sindh education institutes to reopen in March as coronavirus cases confirmed


QUETTA: Schools and educational institutes throughout Balochistan would be shut down till March 15 as part of the measures being taken to prevent coronavirus and for the safety of children, the provincial government said in a notification issued Wednesday.

The notification clarified that all public and private educational institutes, as well as madrassas, would remain closed after two coronavirus cases were confirmed in Pakistan — one each in Karachi and Islamabad.

A copy of the Balochistan government's notification announcing the closure of educational institutes until March 15.

The notification was approved by Secretary Secondary Education Department.

"Matriculation Examination under Balochistan Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education are also being postponed and the remaining papers will be organized in due course of time," it added.

In a video message, Balochistan education minister said: "The ongoing examinations of Grade 9 and Matriculation are also suspended. We want to keep our children safe.

"This step has only been taken as a safety measure and no one needs to panic," he added.

On the other hand, the government of Sindh has extended the closure of educational institutions from a two-day period starting February 27, 2020, to March 2, 2020.

A copy of the Sindh government's notification announcing the closure of educational institutes until March 2.

"All the Public & Private Educational Institutions under the administrative control of School Education & Literacy Department, Sindh shall remain closed from 27th February, 2020 for preventive measures taken on account of appearance of un-expected case of Corona Virus and shall re-open on Monday, 02nd March, 2020.

The educational institutes are now set to reopen Monday, March 2, a notification issued Thursday by Sindh Secretary Khalid Hyder Shah confirmed.

Earlier, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani had announced that the schools in the province would remain closed on Thursday and Friday.

"Sindh Govt has decided to close all the schools of province for Thursday & Friday (27th & 28th Feb)," Ghani had written on Twitter.

Speaking to Geo News, the provincial minister had said: "We took this step as a preventive measure for coronavirus as parents are concerned about their children.

"We have shut down schools for two days, which will be followed by Saturday and Sunday. The situation will remain stable and we will reopen schools on Monday," he had added.

Two cases confirmed

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza confirmed late Wednesday that two coronavirus cases were reported in Pakistan. "Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable," he wrote on Twitter.

Dr Mirza emphasised that there was "no need to panic [as] things are under control" and that no one should "share information of the patient". The patient in Karachi, as well as his family, was immediately placed in quarantine at a private hospital on the National Stadium Road while the one in Islamabad was moved to the capital's Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

The first confirmed coronavirus patient, a 22-year-old man, had arrived in an aeroplane from Iran and has a history of travel to Tehran from where he reportedly acquired the virus, a spokesperson for the Sindh health department said.

The health department was, as of reporting time, examining the passengers he has travelled with. It was also set to dispatch a team to inspect his residence as well as his neighbourhood.