Pakistan to start opening schools as coronavirus cases fall

Above, Mohammad Ibrahim attends an online class at his home, while schools are closed, during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Islamabad on April 14, 2020. (AFP file photo)
Short Url
Updated 07 September 2020

Pakistan to start opening schools as coronavirus cases fall

  • Schools were closed in March when the government enforced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus

ISLAMABAD: Education officials in Pakistan say authorities will start reopening schools from Sept. 15 amid a steady decline in coronavirus deaths and infections.
Schools were closed in March when the government enforced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Authorities lifted curbs on most of the businesses in May, but schools remained closed across the country.
Officials said schools will reopen in Punjab and Sindh provinces from Sept. 15 and a formal announcement about opening of schools elsewhere was expected later Monday.
On Sunday, Pakistan reported three new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, one of the lowest number of daily fatalities in more five months.
Pakistan has reported 298,903 infections and 6,345 deaths since the pandemic began.


UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

Updated 23 January 2021

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

  • PM Boris Johnson had previously said evidence showed higher mortality rate 
  • Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant carries with it a higher mortality rate

LONDON: The discovery of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant in the UK should not alter the response to the pandemic, scientists say, despite fears that it could prove more deadly.
Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant, thought to be up to 70 percent more transmissible, carries with it a higher mortality rate.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed there was “some evidence” the variant had “a higher degree of mortality” at a press conference on Friday, Jan. 22, with the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, adding it could be up to 30 percent more deadly. 
That came after a briefing by the UK government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said there was a “realistic possibility” of an increased risk of death.
Prof. Peter Horby, Nervtag’s chairman, said: “Scientists are looking at the possibility that there is increased severity ... and after a week of looking at the data we came to the conclusion that it was a realistic possibility.
“We need to be transparent about that. If we were not telling people about this we would be accused of covering it up.”
But infectious disease modeller Prof. Graham Medley, one of the authors of the Nervtag briefing, told the BBC: “The question about whether it is more dangerous in terms of mortality I think is still open.
He added: “In terms of making the situation worse it is not a game changer. It is a very bad thing that is slightly worse.”
Dr. Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling for the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said he was “quite surprised” Johnson had made the claim.
“I just worry that where we report things pre-emptively where the data are not really particularly strong,” he added.