By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – Afghanistan reopened schools at all levels on Saturday after health authorities claimed the country surmounted the first wave of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Education Ministry spokeswoman Nooria Nuzhat announced that all public school students from grades 1 to 10 would again start going to their schools, where hygiene measures will be ensured to avoid contracting COVID-19.
Last month, the government only allowed private schools, as well as the 11th and 12th grades in public schools, to re-open.
Defending the move, Nuzhat said the extended closure was due to a lack of facilities and the large numbers of students in these schools amid fears of the virus.
Hundreds of thousands of students went to their schools for the first time on Saturday since winter holidays in December 2019, which were supposed to end in March 2020. However, the schools were kept closed following a government move in March until Oct. 3.
According to official statistics, there are currently roughly 16,500 public schools across the country, of which 6,211 are primary schools and 3,856 are secondary schools. These serve over 5 million primary-level and nearly 3 million secondary-level students.t
The latest figures by the Health Ministry suggest that only seven new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed from 59 samples tested in the past 24 hours, raising the total confirmed cases in Afghanistan to 39,297.
At least ten million Afghans have been infected with the coronavirus, a survey by the ministry said last month.