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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) declared on Saturday that all educational institutions in the country would remain closed until May 23.
The NCOC stated that a meeting to discuss the decision would be held on May 18, and that the decision to reopen the educational facilities would be made after taking the coronavirus situation into consideration at the time.
The government has tightened existing restrictions placed in response to the coronavirus situation in recent days, as the country continues to report thousands of COVID-19 cases daily, with hundreds dying from the infection every day.
In light of the deteriorating situation, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood declared on April 27 that, based on NCOC guidelines, all board exams will be postponed until June 15.
According to Mehmood, the number of coronavirus cases has steadily increased since April 18 (the last meeting of the education ministry), and the government has agreed to postpone all exams until June 15.
According to him, the country seems to be on the verge of a total lockout in places of especially high positivity ratios.
“Exams for grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 were expected to begin at the end of May, but have now been pushed back even further,” the minister said. “There will be no board exams until mid-June (June 15).”
Mehmood also stated that another NCOC meeting will be held in the third week of May to determine whether or not these exams will be delayed further.
“Examinations will begin in July and even August if they take place after June 15,” the minister said.
Stay Home Stay Safe Guidelines
To prevent the transmission of the virus, the NCOC has also issued detailed “stay home, stay safe” recommendations from May 8 to May 16.
According to the newly introduced restrictions, chand raat bazaars, shopping malls, public locations, and leisure areas will be closed from May 8 to 16.
According to the NCOC, the ban on chand raat bazaars includes mehndi, jewelry/ornaments, and clothing stalls.
“The current outbreak of COVID-19 in the world necessitates aggressive steps to halt its spread, with a particular focus on reducing mobility during the upcoming Eid-Ul-Fitr,” the NCOC said in a statement.
Both markets, companies, and stores will be closed, with the exception of important services such as:
- Pharmacies and medical supply shops
- Medical services and vaccine clinics
- Shops for vegetables, fruits, chicken, and beef
- Baking establishments
- Petrol stations
- Food delivery and e-commerce (Home Delivery)
- Utilities (electricity, natural gas, telephone, wireless networks/telecom, call centres) and the media
Both residents and visitors will face a total ban on tourism.
Both tourist attractions, formal and casual picnic areas, public parks, and shopping malls will be closed. Both hotels and restaurants in the vicinity of tourism and picnic areas will remain closed.