Monday Mar 15, 2021
The Sindh government will not close the province's schools and other educational institutions, Education Minister Saeed Ghani's spokesperson Zubair Memon said Monday.
The spokesperson, speaking to Geo.tv, said the province would stick to its policy of 50% attendance and does not plan on temporarily shutting down educational institutions.
Pakistan is in the midst of a third wave of COVID-19 due to the UK variant, which is spreading rapidly across the country. The positivity ratio has remained above 5% during the past few days, raising concern among policymakers.
"The coronavirus situation in Sindh is better as compared to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab — our positivity ratio stands at 3%," he said.
Memon said the authorities had sealed 144 schools and four colleges — public and private — across Sindh after cases were reported over there following the reopening of educational institutions in January.
"If coronavirus cases are reported in an educational institution, we seal it. However, we will not close other educational institutions in that district," he said.
The spokesperson said the education and health department's teams are vigilant and are actively monitoring the situation. "When we get a call regarding COVID-19 cases in an educational institute, we investigate it, and if need be, we seal it."
Previously, Ghani had said educational institutions would remain open in the province — and a 50% attendance would be allowed.
"The news of educational institutions closing on March 15 are baseless," he said in a statement, following Federal Minister for Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood's announcement of schools' closure in several cities across Pakistan.
Mehmood on March 10 had announced the closure of schools in several cities, including some from Punjab, after a spike in the coronavirus cases was reported.
All public and private schools in Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Rawalpindi, Multan and Sialkot have gone on a spring break from March 15th, 2021 to March 28th, 2021.
Earlier in the day, the Sindh government had ordered the closure of all markets at 10pm and directed businesses to re-implement the 50% work-from-home policy.
Sindh Home Department had issued a notification to this effect. Apart from the measures outlined above, the Sindh government also notified the closure of shrines, early closure of amusement parks, and other stringent measures to contain the pandemic.
According to fresh statistics, 2,253 new positive cases were reported in the last 24 hours while 29 more succumbed to the virus. The death toll has now reached 13,537 and there are now 22,038 active cases of the pandemic.