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Schools may reopen from Aug 15: minister

Lahore

July 5, 2020

LAHORE : Punjab School Education Minister Dr Murad Raas has hinted that the schools across the province will be reopened from August 15 if the Covid-19 situation normalised.

Talking to the media here on Saturday, he said in the prevailing situation there were almost no chances of schools’ reopening from July 16. He said all the provinces would announce their decision for reopening of schools after a meeting scheduled for July 8. He said the School Education Department (SED) Punjab had prepared detailed SOPs so that once schools reopened the same could be followed to protect the children.

He said once schools reopened, initially schools would function in different shifts to ensure physical distancing among the students in classrooms.

To a question about LGS harassment scandal, Dr Murad Raas said some parents and students had expressed their willingness for a meeting next week. It is pertinent to mention here that Dr Murad Raas had previously said that the department could not take action without written complaints over the harassment issue.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Higher Education Department (HED) is most likely to call teachers on duties in colleges from July 16 while for the students the department would wait for the federal government’s announcement. An HED Punjab official, seeking anonymity, said everything was in the discussion phase at the moment and no final decision had been made yet.

UVAS continues research on coronavirus: The Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory for Emerging Pathogens of University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore has detected SARS-CoV-2 genome from the urine and fecal samples of COVID-19 patients and sewage in a bid to develop a smart COVID-19 surveillance strategy at the community level which may aid in better execution of smart lockdowns.

According to a press release, this pilot study was conducted with the cooperation of Punjab Healthcare Department and in collaboration with Institute of Public Health, Lahore, to further strengthen the efforts of government in fight against COVID-19. The smart surveillance of sewage water for genome of etiological agent of COVID-19 may reveal actual COVID-19 burden of a locality where under-reporting and address fraud is expected.

It will also aid in better execution of smart lockdowns. SARS-CoV-2 genome in sewage water only indicates COVID-19 burden in a particular area. It, however, does not reveal if the virus is in infectious or non-infectious form.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad termed this study another great contribution by the UVAS BSL-3 Lab. He appreciated Prof Dr Tahir Yaqub and his team for initiating the research activity.