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Pakistan Closes Educational Institutions Amid COVID-19 Surge

Students attend a class on the first day of primary school after the resumption of classes in Peshawar on September 30.

Pakistan’s educational institutions are to remain closed for more than a month amid a surge in coronavirus infections and related deaths.

"When we say all educational institutions will close on Nov. 26 and students will home learn, we mean ALL institutions without exception," Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood tweeted shortly after chairing a meeting of the provincial education ministers in Islamabad on November 23.

Speaking at a news conference, Mahmood said students will study from home until December 24 -- before the December 25-January 10 winter vacations.

The minister said a "review session" would be held during the first week of January to gauge the coronavirus epidemic and expressed hope educational institutions would reopen from January 11.

This is the second time since February that Pakistan has closed educational institutions due to spiking numbers of coronavirus cases.

The decision comes as a new wave of coronavirus sweeps the country and places further burdens on its healthcare system.

Pakistani health authorities reported more than 2,700 new infections and 34 death on November 22.

Overall, the country has recorded nearly 377,000 coronavirus cases and almost 7,700 related deaths.

The government last month reintroduced some restrictions such as the mandatory wearing of face masks and putting virus hotspots under lockdown.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said a nationwide lockdown could be introduced if the situation worsens.