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Pakistan braces for second wave of coronavirus

As daily cases top 3,000, schools are closed around the country until January

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Pakistan braces for second wave of coronavirus

Students return from school in Islamabad on Nov. 24 after Pakistan's government announced that all schools will be closed to contain the spread of Covid-19. (Photo: Farooq Naeem/AFP)

Educational institutes around Pakistan will be closed from Nov. 26 due to the rising number of coronavirus cases. 

“Online classes will continue from Nov. 26 to Dec. 24, after which the winter break will start. Schools will reopen on January 11, 2021," Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood told a press conference at the National Operations and Command Center (NCOC).

The government has ordered a work-from-home policy for half of the staff in both public and private sector offices and banned indoor wedding gatherings as part of the second phase of measures to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Pakistan has reported more than 3,000 coronavirus cases and 59 deaths during the last 24 hours. A recent study by NCOC claims 98 health professionals have died.

According to Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, 1,750 people are on oxygen or ventilators in the country. “The preventive measures are not being followed even in mosques after the situation improved,” he said.

Caritas Pakistan’s office in Hyderabad Diocese remained closed on Nov. 23 and 24 amid a smart lockdown in the southern province. According to Manshad Asghar, diocesan executive secretary of Caritas, the positivity rate has reached 33 percent in the diocese.

“Our office is located in the red zone and several staff members couldn’t reach it due to barbed wire placed on roads. We are continuing installation of hand washing units in missionary hospitals and parishes to sensitize the public. The public has forgotten the fear of the virus since the first wave,” he told UCA News.

Caritas Pakistan has been conducting Covid-19 relief since April. Items distributed include 250 emergency kits and more than 2,800 food packages. More than 70 hygiene awareness sessions have been held and hand washing units have been installed in 16 church buildings.

It has registered more than 10,000 people for government relief payments, conducted disinfectant spray campaigns and run psychosocial support programs for children.

In July, a 77-year-old nun heading Darul Sukoon home for underprivileged persons with disabilities died from Covid-19 in a Karachi hospital.

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