Mass eye infection forces closure of 56,000 schools in Pakistan

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Tens of thousands of schools in Pakistan’s most populous province were closed on Thursday after a viral eye infection affected nearly 100,000 people, officials said.

Around 56,000 primary and secondary schools in the central province of Punjab had been ordered to remain shut until Monday, regional Health Minister Jamal Nasir said.

The viral infection, conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, has spread rapidly in the province.

Nearly 100,000 had been infected as of Thursday, and authorities asked people to limit physical contact and stay indoors, Mr Nasir said.

Punjab’s chief minister, Mohsin Naqvi, said the local government would issue guidelines before Monday on how to prevent students from the infection.