More than 56,000 schools will close for the rest of the week in Pakistan, in an attempt to block an epidemic of conjunctivitis, it was learned Wednesday, September 27 from official sources. From Thursday, millions of students will be out of school in the central-eastern province of Punjab, which has recorded 357,000 cases of conjunctivitis since the beginning of the year.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the eye causing redness, itching and secretions. It is a common and most often benign disease, but highly contagious. "The closure (of schools) was announced as a preventive measure to ensure maximum protection for students from infection," Punjab Education Ministry spokesman Zulfiqar Ali told AFP.
Punjab province is the most populous in the country, with 127 million inhabitants. It has 56,000 public schools and thousands of private schools that will also have to close. "We hope this will stop the transmission of infection in the province," Zulfiqar Ali added. Schools across the country were already scheduled to close on Friday, which is a public holiday. But many will reopen for the weekend, to offer additional classes or hold exams.