Monday September 27, 2021

Schools closure in Covid hotspots extended till 28th: NCOC

April 07, 2021

Ag Agencies

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan registered 103 deaths, its highest single-day toll in more than three months on Tuesday, the government extended its suspension of on-campus classes for primary and secondary pupils in coronavirus hotspots till April 28.

The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of provincial health and education ministers, chaired by Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday.

Classes 1-8 in Covid-hit districts will remain closed, while classes 9-12 will resume on April 19 under “strict coronavirus SOPs”, Mahmood announced at a press conference after the meeting.

Punjab’s Education Minister Murad Raas said as many as 13 districts were affected in the province and there would be no classes till April 28. Sindh had already decided to halt classes from grades 1-8. Other provinces would determine their most affected districts and halt education activities accordingly, Mahmood said.

Universities in hotspot districts had been asked to continue online classes until the next decision, he added. “A further review to be made on April 28, in which it will be decided whether staggered classes should continue or halt them till Eid,” he added.

With regard to examinations, Mahmood said there were four million students appearing in matriculation- and intermediate-level exams, so those exams would begin in the third week of May. He said Cambridge exams would be held as per schedule. The minister urged students to focus on their preparations “as it is a confirmed decision”.

Infections have risen sharply in the recent days, with over 19,000 Covid-19 cases reported in April alone. With fresh fatalities, the overall death toll reached 14,924. On March

30, the country had registered 100 deaths, which was the record daily toll since December last year.

The country reported 3,953 new infections on Tuesday, pushing the total caseload to 696,186. Some 618,158 patients have so far recovered, whereas the number of active cases reached 63,102. The government has already imposed “broader lockdowns” in high-risk areas, with no movement allowed, except for emergencies until April 11.

Pakistan is currently vaccinating frontline health care workers and senior citizens using Sinopharm, and CanSino doses donated by China. According to Planning Minister Asad Umar, who leads the country’s anti-virus response, over one million people have so far been vaccinated.

Private hospitals in major cities have also started inoculation with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine imported by a pharmaceutical company.