The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday decided to review the decision to reopen schools amid the rising trend of coronavirus cases across the country, according to the The Associated Press of Pakistan.
The NCOC meeting, presided over by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, was attended by National Coordinator Lt Gen Hamood Uz Zaman Khan as well as representatives from each province via video link.
Last month, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood had announced that schools in major cities would resume routine classes from March 1 in view of the declining trend of Covid-19 cases across the country.
But the trend now appears to be reversing, with Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, issuing a stark warning to "remember that the pandemic is not over" last week.
During Monday's session, the NCOC also discussed updates from the provinces on the rising Covid-19 positivity rate, progress in the vaccination campaign as well as the national vaccine strategy.
The meeting also discussed deferring the opening up of cinemas, indoor weddings and dine-in restaurants, which were expected to be allowed with effect from March 15. The next review on this matter is set to be held in the first week of April.
The NCOC expressed its concerns over public complacency in following non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) — alternative measures to treat the disease other than medical treatment. These include following the SOP guidelines issued by the NCOC, such as mask-wearing, hand-washing and maintaining social distancing, among others.
Provincial administrations were directed to ensure strict enforcement of NPIs at the grass-root level to contain the spread of the disease as any slackness in adhering to safety guidelines would trigger the contagion outbreak.
The number of Covid-19 cases has surged by around 50 per cent ever since the NCOC eased restrictions late last month.
As many as 1,714 people contracted the virus and 38 lost their lives in a single day while the number of active cases increased to 17,352 on March 6. A total of 2,002 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country on Saturday.