Picture used for illustrative purpose.
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan's federal education ministry has directed the provinces to ensure closure of educational institutions until May 23 to avoid a further surge in COVID-19 cases. "Educational institutions shall remain closed till May 23 in view of the directives of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC( to deal with the third wave of Covid-19," read a communique sent to all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJC) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)."
It added that the directives apply on all government, private institutions, seminaries, and vocational and technical educational campuses. The ministry asked the relevant institutions to ensure that the directives are followed in letter and spirit.
On May 8, the NCOC decided to extend the closure of all educational institutions till May 23. The decision was taken in view of the ongoing trends of the disease. However, a review will be carried out in the NCOC’s next meeting, scheduled for May 18.
Explaining the reason behind the recent restrictions put into effect by the Centre, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who is also the chief of the NCOC, said that the government realises that the restrictions put into place are going to cause inconvenience. However, he added, they have been necessitated by the "extremely dangerous situation" created in the region with the spread of virulent mutations of the virus.
The NCOC late last month announced a new set of restrictions including a blanket ban on tourism and inter-provincial transport in an attempt to contain a further rise in already mounting coronavirus cases under the "Stay Home, Stay Safe” strategy.
Meanwhile, eighty-three more people died from the coronavirus in a single day across Pakistan, as per data from the NCOC. Pakistan reported 1,531 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with 83 more dying from the infection.
The NCOC said Pakistan conducted 30,248 tests of the infection, with the positivity ratio standing at 5.06%. Pakistan's total death toll from the infection has climbed to 19,467.
The most number of coronavirus deaths were reported in Punjab, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in second place. Of the 83 who passed away from coronavirus, 73 had been admitted to hospitals while 36 were on ventilators.
The Punjab government is keeping a close eye on coronavirus cases in the schools, Minister Murad Raas said adding that random testing was being conducted and a slight increase in numbers has been observed.
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