Monday, September 14, 2020
KARACHI: As the educational institutions start reopening around the country from tomorrow, a healthcare startup based in Karachi has found 13% positive cases among the school staff in eight private schools of the metropolis and has termed the situation “very alarming”.
“We carried out tests of over 2,000 people in eight schools in the past two weeks out of which 13% were positive,” founder and CEO of Find My Doctor Saad Siddiqui told Geo.tv. He also shared that they will be carrying out 1,500 more tests this week in different private schools of the city.
Siddiqui, while talking about the kit used for testing, said that they used the COVID-19 rapid test kit to trace the positive employees at schools.
He added that the same kit was also being used in India, explaining that the kit shows two positive results IgM and IgG. The IgM result shows if the virus is present in the body and the IgG result shows that the individual had contracted the virus and has developed antibodies against it after recovering.
When asked about whether his company had contacted the government, Siddiqui said he has not spoken to them but said that the situation was “very alarming”.
He urged parents to monitor their kids and keep them away from the elderly as they may transfer the virus to them.
Last week, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood had announced the resumption of educational activities from September 15 in a phased manner after new virus cases recorded a steady decline over the past few weeks. The government had in March decided to shut all education institutions to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Addressing a press conference alongside Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Faisal Sultan, the education minister had said that the National Command and Operation Centre worked hard and consulted with members of think tanks, specialists, and kept reviewing the situation in the region.
"All universities, Higher Education Commission's (HEC) institutes and colleges will be reopened from September 15," said Mahmood. "[The government] has allowed for classes of grades IX, X and XI to be conducted [from September 15] as well."
The minister thanked parents for "patiently waiting" since the past six months, stating that the country is now able to reopen colleges and universities from September 15.
Stressing on the importance of monitoring children's health, Mahmood said that students of grade VI, VII and VIII will be able to attend classes from September 23.
He said that on September 30, if "situation remains better" primary educational institutions will be allowed to reopen.
"In the next phase, decisions relating to [holding] examinations will be taken," he said.
Mahmood clarified that vocational and skills-based institutes will also be allowed to reopen from September 15. He said that these included classes that focus on students of grade X and above.
"The reopening of schools is applicable on madressahs, public, private and vocational institutes as well," said the minister.
The minister warned educational institutes' management that failure to comply with COVID-19 SOPs would have consequences.