Monday Mar 02, 2020
KARACHI: Schools in Sindh have been directed to remain closed till March 13 to ensure that "the isolation period of the suspected cases could be completed", Saeed Ghani, the provincial education minister, said Monday, after a second person was confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus.
The Sindh government's decision to shut down educational institutes was aimed at preventing the coronavirus from spreading in the city. "We don’t want to take any risk," Ghani added.
Pakistan has so far confirmed four cases of coronavirus, three of them involving people who had travelled to neighbouring Iran — one of the three countries, apart from South Korea and Italy, hit hardest by the outbreak that began in China in December.
While two cases were confirmed in Karachi, the other two were in the capital Islamabad. Schools in Sindh have been closed since Thursday, after the first case in the southern port city was confirmed.
The government of Sindh earlier today suspended registrations of the schools that remained open in Karachi despite a closure order issued by the provincial authorities.
According to a press release, education department officials raided schools opened in multiple locations — including Landhi, Lyari, Korangi, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, and other areas — in city following orders from the Directorate of Inspection & Registration of Private Institutions (DIRPIS).
Officials then requested Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) Chairperson to initiate action against the said institutions. In addition, DIRPIS Director General Dr Mansoob Hassan also summoned the heads of school that remained open.
On the other hand, schools in Islamabad have remained open but the thinly-populated Balochistan — which shares border with Iran — closed its schools last week.
Pakistan also suspended all flights with Iran and closed the land border last week.
Health Minister Zafar Mirza has said the PTI government was gradually allowing pilgrims to return from Iran after holding them in quarantine at the border for 14 days.
Around 700 pilgrims arrived in Karachi from Iran over the weekend, the Sindh chief minister’s office said in a statement.
Additional reporting from Reuters