A teacher checks the temperature of a student in a school in Peshawar. File
Amid a spike in COVID-19 infections, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announced on Wednesday that educational institutions will remain closed in virus hotspots of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Azad Kashmir till April 11.
Briefing the media after chairing a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to take stock of the coronavirus situation, he said the provincial governments will decide whether to keep schools closed or open in light of the number of infections.
"There is a rapid surge in the cases in some districts of Punjab, particularly Lahore, while the situation is the same in some area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu & Kashmir," Mahmood added.
"Board exams for class nine and above will be held as per schedule in May and June,” Mahmood cleared. He emphasised that that closure is for all form of educational institutions including universities as well as academies.
The announcement is for Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Sargodha, and Sheikhupura. The remaining districts will be open on previous schedule.
The minister further said that all institutions in Islamabad will also remain close as coronavirus situation in the federal capital is also worrisome.
Mehmood further said that the exams of all educational boards will be held in late May as per the schedule and a meeting will also be held with Cambridge to discuss its exams and an announcement in this regard will be made soon. He warned that any educational institution found violating the government orders will be sealed.
Mehmood said that the coronavirus situation is very serious in certain districts of Punjab, KP and Azad Kashmir. However, the intensity of the virus is relatively less in Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan.
The education minister recalled that earlier the educational institutions were closed from March 15 to March 28 in some districts of Punjab and KP as well as the federal capital in the light of spike in COVID-19 cases.
On the other hand, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has said that all educational institutions in the province will remain open under strict coronavirus related Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
The education minister said that schools can remain open with only 50 per cent attendance and if a coronavirus case is found in a school, only that institution will be sealed. He further announced that all examinations will be held as per the schedule.
He added that all private and public schools will follow government orders and warned that a strict action will be taken against institutions as well as individuals found violating the official guidelines.
NNI News Service
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Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said the federal government will formulate SOPs and share them with the provincial governments. He said the provincial governments will be authorised to close the institutions, which do not observe SOPs.
Of the almost 2,000 samples, only 12 had antibodies, said Reinhard Berner from the University Hospital of Dresden, adding the first results gave no evidence that school children play a role in spreading the virus particularly quickly.
Sheikh Mohammed on Wednesday met a number of high-ranking military and police officials from the UAE and other nations, who attended the graduation ceremony of the 47th cohort of graduates of the Zayed II Military College.
Dubai Police and Civil Defence officials evacuated the building in recording time.
The two leaders also discussed bilateral cooperation across various domains, affirming their joint keenness for continuous consultation to benefit the mutual interests of their countries and peoples.