LAHORE: The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) meeting on Wednesday allowed the reopening of schools in districts with less than 5% coronavirus positivity ratio from May 24.
The meeting of NCOC was attended by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Lt General Hamood uz Zaman Khan and Special Advisor to Prime Minister on Health, Sindh Health Minister. Chief secretaries of all federating units attended the session via video link.
After the meeting, NCOC issued a statement announcing to reopen schools from May 24 in districts with less than 5 percent coronavirus positivity ratio. The statement further said that important decisions regarding restrictions were taken after extensive deliberations.
From June 1, several sectors will be allowed to reopen, but a review meeting will be held on May 27. Staggered opening of educational institutions from June 7 — other than those opened from May 24. Outdoor marriage ceremonies with an upper limit of 150 Individuals will be allowed. Meanwhile, shrines, cinemas, indoor dining, indoor gyms, amusement parks, contact sports, festivals, cultural and other events, and indoor/outdoor gatherings will remain banned till further notice.
Earlier this month, NCOC meeting announced that schools, colleges, universities to remain closed till May 23. The decisions were taken based on the briefings provided by the provincial chief secretaries.
The Pakistan Alliance of Private Schools also held a meeting today ahead of the NCOC’s review session. “NCOC should immediately announce reopening of educational institutions,” said the alliance’s chairman Akram Sheikh. Sheikh said coronavirus cases across the country were reported in large numbers after markets and businesses were allowed to reopen, not schools.
“Educational institutions should be reopened, similar to other sectors, with strict compliance of coronavirus SOPs,” he said, adding that a further extension in the closure of educational institutions will result in “irreparable loss” for students. Sheikh warned that if the ban was extended beyond May 23, countrywide protests will be held against the decision.