Educational institutions in Pakistan should remain closed till August 2020, NCOC recommends

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has recommended that the educational institutions should be kept closed till August 2020 as the summer season and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic would be at its peak in Pakistan on July 15.

The meeting of the NCOC was held in Islamabad on Saturday with the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in the Chair to discuss the long and short term strategy on COVID-19 titled “Living with the Pandemic”.

In its meeting, the NCOC sought provinces’ feedback on negative list aiming to finalize the recommendations of opening some more sectors of the economy halted due to COVID-19 outbreak.

The forum emphasized the need to revise its communication strategy for better messaging and public outreach on the COVID-19 issue.Educational institutions - The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has recommended that the educational institutions should be kept closed till August 2020 as the summer season and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic would be at its peak in Pakistan on July 15. The meeting of the NCOC was held in Islamabad on Saturday with the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in the Chair to discuss the long and short term strategy on COVID-19 titled "Living with the Pandemic". In its meeting, the NCOC sought provinces' feedback on negative list aiming to finalize the recommendations of opening some more sectors of the economy halted due to COVID-19 outbreak.  The forum emphasised the need to revise its communication strategy for better messaging and public outreach on the COVID-19 issue.  The Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that the restaurants under the negative list would have to completely close their services or partially initiate its functions with only take away services.  The forum insisted that the marriage halls should only be allowed with limited number of guests, one dish and strict compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs).  Asad Umar directed the concerned authorities to calculate economic impacts of COVID-19 in the first quarter of current calendar year. The NCOC stressed that capacity building and restructuring of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination should be done as per approval by the federal cabinet.  The forum was also apprised that the critical care resources would be increased owing to the surging risk of the pandemic.  The forum was told that the testing capacity of COVID-19 was being increased to 672,000 tests.  The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar said that National Integrated Management System should be put in place for better coordination between the federal and the provinces.  Dr Zafar Mirza said that although wearing of masks was mandatory, no punitive action was being taken against the violators.

The Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that the restaurants under the negative list would have to completely close their services or partially initiate its functions with only take away services.

The forum insisted that the marriage halls should only be allowed with limited number of guests, one dish and strict compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Asad Umar directed the concerned authorities to calculate economic impacts of COVID-19 in the first quarter of current calendar year.

The NCOC stressed that capacity building and restructuring of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination should be done as per approval by the federal cabinet.

The forum was also apprised that the critical care resources would be increased owing to the surging risk of the pandemic.

The forum was told that the testing capacity of COVID-19 was being increased to 672,000 tests.

The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar said that National Integrated Management System should be put in place for better coordination between the federal and the provinces.

Dr Zafar Mirza said that although wearing of masks was mandatory, no punitive action was being taken against the violators.