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Pakistan shuts over 20 educational institutes over non-compliance of COVID-19 SOPs

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ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Thursday said that the authorities in various parts of the country have shut down 22 educational institutes in the last 48 hours for not complying with government-issued standard operating procedures.

“During the last 48 hours, 22 educational institutions across Pakistan have been closed due to non-compliance of health SOPs/protocols and disease prevalence,” read the NCOC statement.

As per the breakdown, 16 educational institutions have been closed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one in the federal capital and five in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier this week, the NCOC had said a “major educational institute” in the federal capital was sealed after a spike in COVID-19 cases was reported from it.

"A major educational institution sealed in Islamabad. Due to targeted testing, 16 cases were reported from the subject institution," read the statement. The NCOC had also shared that contact tracing will be done to "ensure containment" of COVID-19 cases in the city.

Both closures came shortly after all educational institutions, including seminaries, reopened from Tuesday after a six-month break amid concerns over the implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols and fears of a second wave of the virus.

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The government had decided to close schools, colleges and universities in March to curb the spread of coronavirus. Sindh, however, had suspended educational activities in the province on February 27 after detection of the first COVID-19 case in Karachi.

On September 7, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood had announced that all higher education institutions in the country will reopen in phases from September 15.

Over 30,000 religious seminaries across the country also reopened in phases from Tuesday.

According to the guidelines issued by the government, the use of masks is mandatory for all teachers and students, while schools, colleges and universities will ensure the presence of hand sanitizers at the entrance.

The NCOC has also urged the parents and teachers to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued for the safety of students.


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