Omicron fears: NCOC delays decision on schools closure

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ISLAMABAD – The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) said on Monday that decisions about education institutions will be made after reviewing the trend of positivity rates in various institutions.

The top coronavirus monitoring body had called a meeting of the provincial health and education ministers today to take decisions on coronavirus restrictions, including closure of schools, as Omicron variant has triggered Covid-19 infections.

“Decision about education institutions will be taken on data of positive cases of various institutions for which massive testing in education institutions is being carried out,” NCOC said in a brief statement issued after the meeting concluded.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and National Coordinator Maj General Muhammad Zafar Iqbal chaired the NCOC session, while Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan attended it virtually.

Provincial health and education ministers also attended the meeting virtually and shared the measures being taken for the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), and COVID-19 SOPs in wake of a surge in coronavirus cases.

The participants of the meeting also discussed global and regional trends of the Omicron variant, the statement said.

Keeping in view new disease prevalenc, fresh set of NPIs was presented and discussed with discussed with provinces and new set of NPIs will be implemented by provinces in the next 48 hours after consultative process with all stake holders.

Earlier in the day, Punjab health minister Yasmin Rashid had said that they will support closure of schools, adding that 80% of students in the province are vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Pakistan reported 4,340 new COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking total number of active cases to 35,884 on Monday. The virus caused seven deaths, pushing the toll to 29,019, the NCOC’s data showed.

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