PESHAWAR: On Saturday, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported seven deaths and 274 new Covid-19 cases as the screening at educational institutions indicates that teenage students, both boys and girls, continue to be contaminated by the virus.
A health department study indicated that since the resumption of screening of educational facilities on January 18, about 160 students have so far tested positive for coronavirus through random testing in schools.
31 students were diagnosed with Covid-19 on Saturday, mainly in the districts of Peshawar, Khyber, Malakand and Kohat, according to the study.
After the reopening of schools for the 9th and 10th grades, the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) instructed the province to start screening. So far, 10,500 students have been tested in schools and seminaries.
In spite of the second wave of coronavirus, the province ceased screening of educational facilities after schools and colleges were shut down. These were, however, reopened in January on the recommendation of the NCOC, which requested the province to perform random screening in schools and to submit a weekly report on the level of positivity.
Officials said that as of February 1, the NCOC had declared the resumption of primary, middle and university classes on the basis of screening results from educational institutions. They said that nearly all of the active cases found in schools were young boys and girls who, through their virus career, were asymptomatic.
Province records 274 new Covid-19 cases.
Students who tested positive in schools were recommended to live in isolation in their homes and they were secure because of their level of immunity, but could serve as a carrier of the virus and pose a threat in their homes and in the community to the elderly or persons with existing health problems.
KP screened 115,846 students from October 18 to November 18, 2020, of which 2,496 turned out to be positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, within the last 24 hours, seven more Covid-19 patients have passed away in the area. Five in Peshawar and one each in Swabi and Dera Ismail Khan were included.
To date, 1,897 people in the province have been afflicted with the virus, including 969 in Peshawar, 145 in Abbottabad, 115 in Swat, 82 in Mardan, 60 in Kohat, 59 in Nowshera, 57 in Swabi, 45 in Lower Dir and 44 in Haripur, among others.
Of the 274 people newly diagnosed, 121 tested positive in Peshawar, where the prevalence of Covid-19 swelled to 26,976. After the start of the pandemic, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported a total of 66,953 Covid-19 incidents.
The government report reported that 266 more patients recovered from the disease, taking the overall score of recovered virus patients to 62,198. At present, the province has 1,897 cases of active coronavirus.
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Officials said that in educational establishments, screening would proceed and the results would be reported to NCOC, who would then review screening data from all provinces and make decisions on the continuation or otherwise of on-campus education programmes.
However, the provincial government has ordered all heads of schools and colleges to ensure that students stick to social distancing steps, wearing face masks and hand washing to remain healthy from the virus.