Pakistan: Covid cases surge; schools to close in some cities
Govt withdraws permission to fully reopen wedding halls, cinemas and shrines due to rising cases of coronavirus
Pakistan on Wednesday announced a raft of new measures due to rising cases of coronavirus in the country.
The new restrictions include closing educational institutions in certain cities, and withdrawing permissions to resume indoor weddings, dine-in services, cinemas and shrines.
Shafqat Mahmood, Pakistan’s Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, said around 50 million children were at risk following the surge in new Covid-19 cases over the past 10 days because they were attending classes physically.
Major cities of Punjab including Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Lahore, Gujrat, Multan, Sialkot, Rawalpindi and Islamabad recorded a rise in Covid cases, leading to the decision to close schools in these locations.
Schools in these cities will go on spring break for two weeks from March 15 to 28. However, other districts in the province will observe classes at 50 per cent capacity and observing Covid SOPs, including wearing of masks, washing of hands, and social distancing.
The minister clarified that the new restrictions don’t apply for examinations at all levels.
“We have agreed that the metric and intermediate level exams will be taken in June this year and further decision in that regard will be made later,” he added.
He said the today’s decisions were applicable on all schools, colleges and universities, as it had been made after feedback from the Higher Education Commission and provinces.
Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani clarified soon after the announcement that educational institutions across the province would remain open at 50 per cent capacity.
He said there would be no spring holidays in the Sindh province.
Dr Faisal Sultan, special assistant to prime minister Imran Khan on health, said the government withdrew the permission granted to resume indoor weddings, dine-in, cinemas and shrines.
He added that the time limit for commercial activities will be 10pm. However, this is not applicable to essential services like pharmacies. Amusements parks across the country have been ordered to close at 6pm.
The government will start administering vaccine jabs to the elderly from today.
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