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Sindh coronavirus task force suggests closing schools for 15 days

Students wear protective masks as they attend a class at school as the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Peshawar, Pakistan November 23, 2020. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz/File Photo. For representation only.
  • Sindh task force on coronavirus tells provincial govt to consider shutting down schools for the next 15 days amid rising COVID-19 cases.
  • Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah directs education minister Ghani to talk to relevant stakeholders before taking a decision regarding the matter.
  • Last month, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had suggested NCOC close schools if at least three people test positive.

The Sindh task force on coronavirus on Friday suggested the provincial government shuts down schools for the next 15 days in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The suggestion was made during a meeting of the provincial task force on coronavirus, chaired by the Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah here at the CM House.

Upon hearing the suggestion, CM Shah directed the Sindh Minister for Education Saeed Ghani to discuss the matter with all the stakeholders, including the management of private schools, before taking a final decision.

Last month, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had suggested to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) that schools should be only be closed if at least three people — students or teachers — test positive for coronavirus.

The health minister had also suggested it would be better to postpone the examinations for two weeks — and a single exam should be conducted with strict adherence to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Rising coronavirus cases in Sindh

During Friday’s meeting, the Sindh government was told that from March 26 to April 1, 2021, a positivity ratio of 4.63% has been recorded in Karachi, whereas it was found to be 5% in Hyderabad and 1.5 % in other areas of Sindh. 

A World Health Organisation (WHO) representative present during the meeting informed participants that the UK strain of the coronavirus is growing at an alarming rate.

“The provincial task force has decided to approach the federal government to impose a ban on inter-provincial transport so that travelling of people to and from Sindh could be stopped to contain the virus,” read a statement from the task force. 

Over 5,000 countrywide COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours

The country is currently in the grip of an intensifying third wave of coronavirus, with over 5,000 new coronavirus infections reported in the last 24 hours.

It marks the first time in nine months that Pakistan has reported more than 5,000 cases in a single day. The last time was on June 20, when 6,604 infections were recorded.

With total coronavirus cases at 678,165, the positivity rate jumped to 10.43 % today.

The country also reported 83 new deaths, taking the death tally to 14,613.

The number of active cases stands at 56,347 whereas about 607,205 people have recovered from the virus so far.

To curb the spread of the virus, NCOC has announced a complete ban on holding wedding functions — both indoor and outdoor — starting April 5, in areas that have a three-day rolling average of an 8% positivity ratio.

The NCOC had said that the government is also considering the prospects of more restrictions on inter-provincial travelling.

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