Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that we have taken several steps in the Corona situation, closing the school is a very difficult decision. Addressing a press conference, Shafqat Mehmood said that there is a difference between teaching and online education in educational institutions and the Ministry of Education wants the educational institutions to remain open.

He said that online teaching is different from classroom teaching. Proper education requires a classroom setting. He said that the final decision to open or close the educational institutions will be taken in the next meeting scheduled on March 24.

Shafqat Mehmood said that the health department is putting pressure but still we are not closing educational institutions. At present, the situation is bad due to Corona. Shafqat Mahmood said that the NCOC believes that there is a high risk of corona in schools, 50 million children are involved in education, then if there is an infection, it will spread.

“We have tried to keep schools open where there is no problem. If the education ministers and health ministers make recommendations about educational institutions, we will act on them,” he said.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood had said in a message on social media that the third wave of coronavirus was a matter of concern. Shafqat Mahmood said in his statement that the meeting of all the ministers of education and health would be held on March 24 at the NCOC. The health of students, teachers, and other staff is a top priority, Shafqat Mahmood said.

The NCOC session decided today on 22.03.2022 following steps:

  1. Implementation of broader lockdowns with stringent enforcement protocols based on risk assessment. No mobility will be allowed except emergencies.
  2. Closure of all type of indoor dining. However, outdoor dining permitted till 10:00 pm. Takeaways will be allowed.
  3. Closure of all commercial activities (less essential services) by 8:00 pm.
  4. Two safe days per week will be observed. Choice of days will be at the discretion of Federating Units.
  5. Gatherings with upper limit of 300 persons will be allowed with strict adherence of Covid-19 SOPs. However, all types of indoor gatherings involving cultural, musical / religious or miscellaneous event will be banned.
  6. Complete closure of cinemas and shrines will continue to be enforced.
  7. Complete ban on contact sports, festivals, cultural and other events.
  8. Outdoor marriage functions till 10:00 pm with upper limit of 300 guests with strict adherence of Covid-19 SOPs (event duration 2 hours only). No indoor functions will be allowed.
  9. Complete closure of amusement parks, however, walking/jogging tracks will remain open with strict adherence of SOPs.
  10. 50% work from home policy will continue in all public and private offices and courts.
  11. Intercity public transport to operate at 50% of capacity.
  12. Rail service to operate at 70% of capacity.
  13. Compulsory mask wearing be ensured by all federating units while incorporating innovative measures for enforcement.
  14. Reduced presence at courts (City, District, High Courts and SC).
  15. Stringent protocols for tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and tourist places elsewhere. Sentinel testing sites at entry points / selected locations be established.
  16. Mass media coverage highlighting punitive actions.

The session decided that these high impact interventions will be implemented forthwith and will remain enforced till April 11, and a review will be carried out on April 7.

Meanwhile, the NCOC has also decided to review the decisions related to education sector, enforced with effect from March 10, on March 24.

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