After almost five months in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, all universities reopened in Afghanistan on August 5. A spokesman for the higher education ministry confirmed that students and professors are physically attending classes today.
Everyone will be required to wear masks while adhering to social distancing and the campus will be disinfected every day, the spokesman added.
“If we find a positive case among our students or professors, the individual will be sent to home quarantine with a two-week vacation,” the official told dpa.
With 450,000 students, there are a total of 167 state-owned and private universities and higher education institutions around the country, which has an estimated population of 37 million. All educational institutions were closed in mid-March to curb the spread of the virus but university lectures were held online.
Only about 90,000 people have been tested throughout the war-torn country due to limited capacity. Of those, more than 40 percent were positive – one of the highest infection rates in the world.
Schools will remain closed for the time being based on a cabinet decision on August 4.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said millions of Afghan children have no opportunity to learn due to the coronavirus crisis. Girls in particular have suffered from the restrictions because they were subject to additional violence at home.