53 additional coronavirus cases from Taftan take Sindh's toll to 88

Published March 16, 2020
A commuter, wearing a face mask amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, rides a motorbike along a street in Islamabad on March 16. — AFP
A commuter, wearing a face mask amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, rides a motorbike along a street in Islamabad on March 16. — AFP

The number of coronavirus cases in Sindh rose dramatically on Monday to 88 — the highest single-day jump since the first case was reported in the country on February 26 — taking Pakistan's tally to 121.

According to Sindh government spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab, 61 of the people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the province are pilgrims who had reached Sukkur from the Pakistan-Iran border at Taftan.

Out of the total number of cases that have been reported in the province, 26 were from Karachi while one was from Hyderabad, Meeran Yousuf, media coordinator of the health and population welfare minister.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Sindh had doubled to 35 on Sunday, up from 17 a day earlier.

New schedule for exams

Meanwhile, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said that the new academic year will begin from June 1.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi on Monday, he explained that examinations for Grade 9 and 10 students will begin on June 15. The exams, that were previously scheduled to be held on March 16, will last for approximately two weeks, he said.

He added that exams for Grade 11 and 12 will begin on July 6. He said that all the examinations will be held during the afternoon shift.

The minister revealed that admissions for Grade 11 will begin from July 15 on a provisional basis, even though results for Grade 10 are supposed to be released on August 15.

"We are preponing their admissions; we will allow admissions on the basis of students' Grade 9 mark sheet," he said. "Once the results are released, those that qualify can continue, while those who fail will have to go back."

However, the new academic calendar that has been drawn up depends on what the situation regarding coronavirus is in June, Ghani said.

"We are hopeful that the situation will improve [...] I believe the number of cases will recede once we have identified all those travelling to the country from abroad."

The minister also took the opportunity to urge parents to make sure their children stay at home during this period.

"We have taken this decision [of extending the holidays] because we do not want our children to get sick. Therefore, make sure you and your child are not leaving your homes," he advised.

661 more pilgrims to arrive tomorrow

On Sunday, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had said that another batch of 661 pilgrims was supposed to arrive in Sukkur on Tuesday.

Chairing a meeting of the provincial task force on coronavirus, Shah stated: “This is serious situation and we all have to deal it accordingly."

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