Pakistan Not To Close Schools Until Further Review Of Covid Data

Pakistan Not To Close Schools Until Further Review Of Covid Data
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said it will not close schools until it reviews further information regarding Covid-positive individuals in the schools, while cases across the country continue to soar.

"Decision about education institutions will be taken on data of positive cases of various institutions for which massive testing in education institutions is being carried out," read a statement from an NCOC meeting on Monday.

In addition to increased testing at schools to collect pertinent data, the NCOC also issued notice that it will publicize a 'fresh set' of non-pharmaceutical interventions following further consultation from stakeholders, including provincial health and education ministers.

In the past 24 hours, 4,340 new Covid-19 cases have been reported, raising the national positivity rate to 8.7 per cent.  In Karachi, the current epicenter of coronavirus cases in Pakistan, the positivity rate reached 40 per cent on Sunday, of which 95 percent were found to be the Omicron variant.

“We don’t want any lockdown and want businesses to continue. But, we have to do something. Two things are crucial at this time — vaccination and implementation of the SOPs (standard operating procedures)," said Dr. Sajjad, a member of the Chief Minister's Task Force on Coronavirus, who called for a ban on public gatherings.

Last year, the NCOC limited school closures to those districts with high instances of Covid-19, including 15 of Punjab's districts, eight districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad. Pakistan, in the past, has received international acclaim for its 'smart lockdown' approach.