Educational institutions will reopen on Sept 15, reiterates PM

Updated 29 Aug 2020

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The prime minister said effective coordination and comprehensive strategy helped the country succeed against the pandemic. — PM Imran's Instagram/File
The prime minister said effective coordination and comprehensive strategy helped the country succeed against the pandemic. — PM Imran's Instagram/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday reiterated the government’s decision to reopen all educational institutions from Sept 15 and directed the provinces to finalise necessary arrangements in this regard.

Presiding over a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Covid-19, the prime minister asked the people to observe precautionary measures during Muharram.

The meeting also decided to review health protocols for domestic flight operations.

The meeting was told that the number of positive Covid-19 cases had significantly declined in the country.

“Finalisation of recommendations in consultation with provincial governments and administrations of educational institutions, ahead of a Sept 7 meeting that would take decision about reopening of schools from Sept 15,” the prime minister directed in the meeting.

Health protocols for domestic flight operation to be reviewed

The meeting discussed the roadmap on resumption of academic activities in view of the improving situation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and the precautionary measures needed to be taken at educational institutions.

Read: Allowing all schools in Pakistan to reopen simultaneously breaches the bounds of prudence

The meeting was attended by federal ministers Asad Umar, Shafqat Mehmood, Ghulam Sawar Khan, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Mohammad Hammad Azhar and Syed Fakhar Imam and advisers, including Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistants Dr Sania Nishtar, Dr Faisal Sultan, retired Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Dr Moeed Yousaf, the NDMA chairman and other senior officials.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Farooq Haider Khan and the provincial chief ministers also attended the meeting through video link.

The meeting deliberated at length on measures needed to be adopted during Muharram, restoration of academic activities in educational institutions, testing, tracking and the quarantine strategy.

The steps required for opening up of the tourism sector, policy of testing, micro smart lockdown and the aviation sector also came under discussion. An official press release issued by the Prime Minister Office (PMO) said the meeting also reviewed health protocols being adopted for domestic flights.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar gave a detailed briefing on the overall situation related to the coronavirus pandemic and presented a comparative analysis of the situation in Pakistan in relation to countries of the region.

The meeting was informed that the government’s response towards the pandemic was recognised internationally and significant improvement in the situation was witnessed owing to blessings of Allah Almighty and the strategy adopted, contrary to the situation in neighbouring countries.

The meeting was also given a briefing on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place during Muharram processions and Majalis.

The prime minister lauded the contribution of all medical professionals in the fight against Covid-19, the role of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), law enforcement agencies, provincial governments and other departments.

He said effective coordination and comprehensive strategy helped the country succeed against the pandemic.

The prime minister cautioned that the threat of the virus was not over and called upon the public to continue compliance of SOPs.

For Muharram, the prime minister stressed the need to adopt precautionary measures, including wearing of face masks.

He thanked religious scholars from all sects for their understanding of the seriousness of the situation and their role in creating awareness amongst the people.

The prime minister said he had assured the Sindh chief minister of full support of the federal government in mitigating the sufferings of the people of the province, particularly Karachi, in the wake of heavy rains and inundation of large areas of the city. He said he would be visiting Karachi soon and would personally oversee the progress on relief measures.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2020