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Educational activities back on track

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Educational activities have been restored across the country from today (Monday) while COVID-19 restrictions have also been relaxed for trade activities in Sindh.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, while presiding over the meeting of Provincial Task Force on coronavirus on Sunday at the CM House, allowed shopkeepers to continue with their business activities from 5am to 8pm daily and also allowed the restaurants to offer outdoor dining service till 12am from Monday (today) with certain strict SOPs.

Sundays and Fridays will remain as usual closed for business activities in Sindh. At the outset of the meeting, the task force was told that the detection ratio of Covid-19 cases in Karachi has come down from 12.45 on June 1, 2021 to 8.25 percent on June 5. But it was observed that the death rate was still 1.6 percent.

After discussion and deliberation, the meeting decided to relax some COVID-19 related restrictions so that people could do their business activities with much ease but simultaneously it must be linked to vaccination.

He also allowed the restaurants to offer outdoor dining service till 12pm. “This has been allowed on the condition that the shopkeepers and restaurant owners would vaccinate their staff members within the next two weeks,” he said and added after two weeks the government would start random checking of their staff.

It may be noted that earlier outdoor dining at the restaurants was banned. Murad Ali Shah directed Karachi’s Commissioner to open the Sea view and beach to the public but inform the visitors through signboards/banners/media to follow SOPs. The saloons would also operate under COVID-19 SOPs.

The meeting also allowed marriage halls to start offering marriage functions in open spaces after two weeks. The meeting decided to open educational institutions from Class-IX and above with 50 per cent attendance from Monday (today). The CM directed the education minister to start mass vaccination of teaching staff in all the educational institutions.

The CM hoped that the traders and the public would follow the SOPs. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Sunday morning inaugurated COVID-19 Vaccination Center at Expo Center Hall-3. He was accompanied by Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Minister Information Nasir Shah, his Adviser on Law Murtaza Wahab.

Talking about Karachi, the CM said that 800,000 people have been vaccinated in the city till date. “We have established 380 COVID vaccination centers all over Sindh, of them 115 are in Karachi,” he said and added Sindh has capacity to vaccinate 200,000 people per day including 100,000 in Karachi.

The CM said that 250 mobile vaccination Units have been activated in the province, including 157 in Karachi to vaccinate the people in areas such as shopping malls, industrial areas, banking sector, bed-ridden and handicapped people.

Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho also spoke on the occasion. Sindh chief minister talking to media reiterated his stance that the salaries of those government employees would be stopped who fail to vaccinate themselves during the month of June 2021. “I am sure the private sector would also take similar steps,” he said and added, “This is the only way to protect oneself and others.”

Meanwhile, sources told Geo News on Sunday that students of classes I-IV and VI-VII will be promoted to the next grade without exams in schools being operated by the federal government.

As per sources, the federal government has agreed to hold exams of students of grade V and VIII. They added that the director general federal directorate of education has sent a summary to the relevant authorities in this regard.

Officials privy to the development said students of these grades will be promoted based on their results from the previous year. They added that last year, students from classes I-VIII were promoted on the basis of their results, adding that the record showed that 90% of the students had passed.

The decision comes as students from grades I-VIII are set to return to schools in Islamabad from Monday (tomorrow) onwards after the government agreed to the resumption of in-person classes. A report published in The News said that the decision came after the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) gave the approval for in-person classes, after Pakistan witnessed a decline in the coronavirus cases of the federal capital.

The schools are already conducting classes for grades 9-10. In a notification, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), which oversees public sector schools and colleges in Islamabad, said the exam schedule for grades 1-8 would be announced soon.