PESHAWAR: Three more people lost life to coronavirus and 854 were infected with it in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday amid the closure of several educational institutions in the province following the detection of the virus among staff members and students.

Of the new cases, 49 were of Omicron variant, says the health department.

According to it, two deaths by coronavirus were reported in Peshawar and one in Dera Ismail Khan.

Of the new cases, Peshawar recorded 454.

Experts fear spike in cases saying people ignoring guidelines

Experts insist that most of the fresh cases reported in the province are Omicron variant’s.

According to them, the province has so far recorded 304 Omicron cases and 176 of them were from Peshawar, the epicentre of the virus since its outbreak in the province early 2020. The Omicron-hit people include 180 men and 121 women and they’re aged between 11 and 80 years.

The capital city, which has recorded more than half of the province’s Covid-19 death and incidence tally, has 608 active patients, most in any district of the province.

A health department report said 49 new coronavirus patients had Omicron variant.

In the day, the Khyber Girls Medical College Peshawar and Gajju Khan Medical College and Swabi University in Swabi district were closed as many of their students and staff members tested positive for the virus.

Also, the district administration closed four educational institutions in Peshawar, including Government High School Hazarkhwani, Government High School Chugar Matti and Government High School Bhudni and Hira International School Shero Jangi Charsadda Road,according to a news release.

A notification said the Khyber Girls Medical College would stay closed for in-person learning until further orders but the academic activities would continue online.

The closure of educational institutions comes on the advice of the respective district health officers.

As Abbottabad, Mardan, Mansehra, Kohat, Swabi and Malakand recorded 80, 54, 43, 41, 38 and 30 Covid-19 cases respectively, officials fear a spike in the infection incidence.

They complained the people didn’t follow preventive measures against the virus, especially in Peshawar, despite the repeated requests of administrations and experts.

The officials said checking all places for SOP violations wasn’t possible for the district administrations.

They said only a few people used face masks in markets, educational institutions, public transport and mosques let alone social distancing and hand hygiene.

The officials said until the people realised how big the Covid threat was, it wasn’t possible to ensure that they take preventive steps against the virus.

They said with a few exceptions, even doctors, nurses and paramedics performed duty in hospitals without following SOPs.

The officials said things were no different on the vaccination front.

They said less than 40 per cent of the vaccination targets were met and it was highly unlikely that the unvaccinated people would visit the Covid-19 immunisation centres to get vaccine jabs.

The officials said most of the people got themselves vaccinated only after the government linked vaccination to their unavoidable work, including securing of documents and certificates.

They said the district administration had planned the blocking of SIM cards used by unvaccinated people to increase vaccination rates, but that plan didn’t see the light of day.

Our correspondent from Swabi adds: The University of Swabi (UoS) and Gajju Khan Medical College were closed on Tuesday after a number of students and staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

According to a notification issued by the UoS deputy registrar’s office, the university will remain closed for academic activities until Feb 4, 2022. The step has been taken after a number of students, faculty and staff members tested positive for Covid-19, it said.

It further says that all scheduled examinations have been postponed till further orders and the students asked to vacate their hostels.

However, the faculty and staff will attend their respective offices during the closure of the university while observing SOPs strictly.

Sources in the UoS said that Covid tests of 260 students were conducted of which 41 students and some faculty members tested positive, which prompted the management to close the institution.

Similarly, an office order issued by chief provost of Gajju Khan Medical College asked the students of MBBS to immediately vacate the hostel rooms till further orders due to Covid pandemic.

An employee of the college said that after emergence of some positive cases the competent authority had ordered to close the institution.

One of the students told this correspondent by phone that now their classes would be held online as conditions were not good for physical classes.

Also in the day, an order issued by the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute’s college says that due to the rising number of Covid cases, the college shall remain closed till further orders for physical activities.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2022

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