The Punjab government has directed to keep all government and private schools closed from Thursday till Sunday due to a conjunctivitis outbreak in the province.
The decision comes after Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab, Mohsin Naqvi, visited a government school in Lahore, where he noticed students affected by the infection, also known as pink eye.
“At least five to six affected students were present in every class of the school,” Naqvi said in video statement.
He issued instructions to grant Thursday and Saturday as holidays in all private and government schools across the province. Friday is already a public holiday on the occasion of Eid Milad-un-Nabi (PBUH).
Schools will reopen from Monday, but with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs), Naqvi told concerned authorities.
On Naqvi’s visit, students also complained about insufficient lighting and fans. The interim CM expressed his dismay over the situation and immediately summoned the secretary of schools.
Conjunctivitis spreading fast
Conjunctivitis is spreading fast in Punjab with hundreds of patients thronging hospitals daily due to the viral infection.
Symptoms of the contagious eye infection include redness, inflammation, and painful eyes with excessive tearing.
Experts warn that if precautions are not taken, there is a significant risk of widespread transmission of the virus.
According to the Cleveland Clinic website, pink eye is caused by allergens, irritants, bacteria and viruses. Pink eye that happens due to bacteria or viruses is highly contagious.
It can spread during close contact (touching, shaking hands) with another person.
Treatment depends on the specific cause and includes eye drops, ointments, pills and water flushes.
Prof Asad Aslam, a leading ophthalmologist, emphasised the importance of precautionary measures. He said, “This virus can easily spread through touching contaminated surfaces, close contact with infected individuals, and even through talking.”
“To protect yourself, it is advisable to wear black glasses, separate your bedding and utensils immediately, and exercise extreme caution to avoid further transmission,” he asserted.