Third wave: Pakistan shuts educational institutions in worst-hit cities for two weeks

A man reacts while receiving a Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine from a health worker at a vaccination center, in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Islamabad: Facing a third wave of the coronavirus, Pakistan has shut down all educational institutes in worst-hit cities for two weeks. Pakistan’s coronavirus tally reached 607,453 on Monday after 2,253 new cases were reported in the country. The country’s largest province, Punjab, recorded more than 1,000 cases for the sixth consecutive day.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar warned the public against taking the current wave of the coronavirus pandemic lightly.

The provincial government has also reimposed restrictions and enforced smart lockdowns in various cities.

Educational institutes in seven cities in the province – including Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Lahore, Gujarat, Multan, Rawalpindi and Sialkot — have been shut for two weeks from Monday.

Other cities in the country to face closure of schools are Islamabad, Peshawar and Muzaffarabad.

COVID-19 first emerged in the country in February last year and hit a peak in mid-June.

However, it started to decline in the following months but surged again in October 2020, prompting the government to issue a warning of a second wave.

Fatalities and confirmed cases from the coronavirus have increased steadily since March 1, when Pakistan resumed regular classes at schools.

Federal Minister Asad Umar last week said that the third wave of COVID-19 has started in Pakistan and attributed the rising number of cases to the virus’ UK strain.