Schools to reopen from Sept 16: Asad Umar

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National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) chief Asad Umar. Photo: file
National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) chief Asad Umar. Photo: file  

ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) chief Asad Umar Tuesday introduced that academic establishments in 5 districts of Punjab and one distinct in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will reopen from September 16. 

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The NCOC had earlier positioned strict restrictions on 24 districts all through the nation, Asad Umar stated, including that out of those, strict restrictions will solely be imposed in six districts whereas the remainder have been allowed rest.

“These six districts [where strict restrictions will continue to remain] are Lahore, Faislabad, Multan, Gujrat, Sargodha and Bannu districts,” said the NCOC chief.

Inter-city transport

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The minister said that even in these districts, the government has decided to lift some restrictions. “Inter-city transport was earlier banned altogether from these districts. Now, buses can resume inter-city transport by accommodating 50% capability of passengers,” he added.

Similarly, he said schools in these six districts will resume on-campus classes from September 16, with 50% attendance in classes.

Outdoor dining

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Asad Umar said that outdoor dining in these districts was allowed to remain open till 10pm. “We have prolonged the time for out of doors eating until midnight. Indoor eating at eating places, nonetheless, will stay banned,” he clarified.

Amusement parks

He said amusement parks, recreational spots and parks will remain open. Only vaccinated persons will be allowed to visit amusement parks, he clarified. The NCOC chief announced that the government was allowing outdoor activities but with a limit of 400 persons only.

“However, indoor gatherings will proceed to stay banned,” he said.

The minister announced that COVID-19 restrictions imposed in districts other than these six will continue to remain in force till September 30.

“We have witnessed that the fourth wave is reducing in depth as time passes,” said Asad Umar. “It is important that we see a rise within the vaccination course of. As you already know, we had set big targets in Pakistan’s giant cities, to vaccinate totally 40% of Pakistan’s inhabitants of 15 years and above,” he said.

Umar said the only way to get rid of these restrictions is to get vaccinated. However, he ruled out the government imposing any restrictions on businesses in the near future.

“We will not be inserting restrictions on companies. However, restrictions will probably be imposed on the person who doesn’t get himself vaccinated,” he added.

‘Educational institutions   will not be closed again’

“Education establishments in chosen districts of Punjab, KP, and ICT are closed until 15th Sep,” the forum, which heads the country’s coronavirus battle, had said in a tweet on Monday.

The NCOC stated that the decision to review the imposed restrictions would be communicated through official channels — implying that people should not pay heed to social media reports.

Earlier this month, the NCOC had decided to extend special non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) till September 15 that were enforced till September 12 in 24 high disease-risk districts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and Islamabad.

The decision to continue the restrictions was taken amid significant pressure on critical care, hospital admissions, and oxygen requirements.

As per the special NPIs, there was a complete ban on all sorts of indoor and outdoor gatherings, all types of indoor gyms, intercity public transport, and the educational sector till September 15, the forum had decided.

It added that NPIs for the remaining sectors would remain enforced as already communicated earlier.

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