Saturday, September 30, 2023
LAHORE: Viral conjunctivitis or 'pink eye' cases spiked to nearly 100,000 in Punjab in just a few days, raising alarms over the extremely contagious infection, which in rare cases can cause the cornea to become chronically inflamed, leading to permanent vision problems.
According to the sources within the health department, as many as 10,269 cases of eye infection have been reported in the last 24 hours, exceeding the 90,000 mark.
The highest number of pink eye cases were reported in Bahawalpur with 1,540 people suffering from the infection. Meanwhile, 1,132 have been reported in Faisalabad, 1,048 in Multan 608 in Rahim Yar Khan and 452 patients in Lahore.
The Punjab government announced closing all private and government educational institutions across the province from Thursday (September 28) to Sunday (October 1) due to a conjunctivitis outbreak.
The decision came after caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi visited a government school in Lahore and expressed annoyance over the presence of students affected by conjunctivitis.
The interim chief minister summoned the secretary of schools immediately and directed that children suffering from the virus will not be allowed to attend school.
The decision was taken to protect children from the conjunctivitis epidemic in Punjab, the secretary of schools said.
It further said that all schools will reopen from Monday and observe the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of pink eye infection.
“All Chief Executive Officers (DEAs) in Punjab are directed to ensure compliance of the orders,” it added.
Conjunctivitis is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies. It usually gets better in a couple of weeks without treatment.
Speaking to the media after visiting the school, CM Naqvi said conjunctivitis is spreading rapidly in schools and six to seven children in each class were found affected by conjunctivitis.
He said SOPs will be strictly implemented from Monday in all educational institutions across the province under which teachers will inspect the eyes of every child at the school entrance.
Conjunctivitis is also known as red or pink eye.
It usually affects both eyes and makes them: