• 6,127 people infected in single day
• 1.5m doses of vaccine expected in current week
• Matric, Inter classes resume today

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan continues to reel under the effects of Covid-19, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to resume matric and intermediate classes from Monday (today).

The country recorded the second highest number of deaths and the fifth highest number of Covid-19 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic in February last year. On the other hand, 1.5 million more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are expected to reach the country during the current week.

According to the NCOC data, 149 people died of Covid-19 in a single day. This number was second only to the casualty figure of June 20 last year when 153 people fell victim to the virus. Similarly, 6,127 people contracted coronavirus, which was the fifth highest single day figure since Covid-19 was reported in Pakistan.

As many as 6,825 persons had tested positive on June 14 — the highest number so far recorded in the country. The data further showed that over 80 per cent ventilators meant for coronavirus patients were in use in Gujranwala, Multan and Lahore.

As of April 18, the number of active cases has been recorded at 80,559 with 5,285 patients hospitalised across the country.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood chaired a special session on education on Sunday, which was also attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, an NCOC statement said.

“In view of the prevailing situation, it has been decided that all education institutions, including universities, madressahs and tuition centres, will remain closed in districts with high positivity ratio (8pc and above).

Classes 9-12, however, will restart from April 19 in order to prepare for board exams. A/AS/O level exams will be held as per schedule while the national board exams will commence according to the new schedule,” the statement said. Later, Mr Mahmood shared details of the meeting in a series of tweets.

“A special meeting of Health and Education Ministers of all provinces and AJK/GB was held today. The following decisions were taken with complete consensus. 1) Classes 9 to 12 would commence in affected districts in a staggered manner to allow students to prepare for Board exams. 2) 9 to 12 exams will take place according to the new date sheets announced by the Boards. This means will not start before 4th week of May. University admissions schedule will be adjusted keeping in view the new exam time table,” he tweeted. “It was also decided with complete consensus among ministers that A, AS, O level and IGCSE [International General Certificate of Secondary Education] exams will take place as per date sheet announced by CAIES. There will be no delay or cancellation. Those students wishing to take exams in Oct/Nov can do so in the same fee already paid. Meeting was also informed that Cambridge has decided not to give teacher assessed grades this year therefore those not taking exams will take them in the next cycle Oct/Nov. Cambridge also assured that all SOPs will be strictly followed. Universities in affected districts will continue online while in districts with less than 8% positivity they will continue to function. It was also decided that classes 1 to 8 will remain closed. The details will be announced by the provinces and GB/AJK,” Mr Mahmood said in his tweets.

Meanwhile, an official of the Ministry of National Health Services said 1.5 million doses of Cansino Bio would arrive in Pakistan during the current month. He said a large number of elderly people wanted to be inoculated with the Cansino vaccine as it was single dose and would save people the hassle of a second visit to vaccination centres.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2021

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