ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Monday deferred the decision on the closure of schools in the country amid the fifth wave of coronavirus.
A statement issued after the NCOC meeting said, “Decision about education institutions will be taken on data of positive cases of various institutions for which massive testing in educational institutions is being carried out.”
The NCOC discussed the epidemic curve chart data, national vaccine strategy and disease prevalence across the country and decided to implement new protocols in cities with a 10% and above positivity rate.
The session was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar and National Coordinator Maj General Muhammad Zafar Iqbal and attended by SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan virtually.
The provincial health and education ministers also joined the meeting virtually and informed about the steps being taken to implement non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) and COVID-19 SOPs in the wake of a spike in the coronavirus cases.
In addition, global and regional trends of the Omicron variant were also discussed during the session, which was convened after the national positivity ratio increased to an alarming level.
“Keeping in view new disease prevalence, a fresh set of NPIs was presented and discussed with provinces,” the NCOC statement said, adding the provinces will implement the new set of NPIs in the next 48 hours after the consultative process with all stakeholders.
Speaking at the NCOC’s meeting, Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid said that the virus situation in the province was under control.
Opposing the closure of educational institutions, she told the meeting that 85% of students in the province were fully vaccinated. In addition, the minister added that 57% of the total population in Punjab had received two doses of the vaccines.
She urged the masses to adhere to the SOPs to prevent themselves from contracting the virus. Yasmin Rashid said that the government was taking measures to control the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Earlier in the day, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas had recommended 50% attendance in schools for students below the age of 12 years.
Speaking at an event, Murad Raas had said that no decision had been taken yet to close educational intuitions in Punjab.
He had maintained that social gatherings were fueling the coronavirus surge in the country. Opposing the closure of schools, the Punjab minister had said that COVID-19 related SOPs were being implemented in letter and spirit in the educational institutions in the province. The majority of students have been vaccinated against coronavirus, he added.
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