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22 Educational Institutions Sealed Off In 2 Days For Flouting Covid SOPs

Authorities have shut down at least 22 educational institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad and Azad Kashmir in the past 48 hours over their failure to comply with anti-coronavirus Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

“During the last 48 hours, 22 educational institutions across Pakistan have been closed due to non-compliance of health SOPs/protocols and disease prevalence,” said a statement by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC).

According to the statement, 16 of these educational institutions were in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one in Islamabad, and five in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier in the week, a major medical college in the federal capital was sealed after 16 Covid-19 cases were reported among students and employees, reported Dawn.

The Islamabad district health office in a letter had stated: “It has been observed with great concern that numerous cases of Covid-19 have been reported from Riphah Medical College, Islamabad, since September 9.

‘School reopen’

Millions of students in Pakistan returned to classes on Tuesday after a break of six months, as schools and colleges began to reopen for the first time since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Educational institutes were closed in March as the coronavirus began to spread in Pakistan, but, with daily infection numbers falling, the government last week announced a staggered resumption of classes.

“May God make us successful in this test, and may the loss suffered by the students be compensated,” Minister of Education Shafqat Mahmood told reporters in Islamabad.

Senior schools were the first to restart, with middle school set to go back next week and primary school the week after. The long closure led to the cancellations of exams and left academic calendars in disarray.

“Studies have been very badly affected,” Naseem Akhtar, principal of a girls’ school in the port city of Karachi, told Reuters.

“We appreciate the decision of the government to open schools from today.”

Mahmood warned that schools that did not follow precautionary measures, including the wearing of masks and social distancing, would be closed.

“The safety of these children is in our hands,” Karachi teacher Sameera Chaudhry told Reuters.

Pakistan has recorded more than 300,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 6,300 deaths but daily infections have been slowing from a peak of nearly 7,000, and 118 deaths, in one day in June.

Only 11% Pakistanis have Covid antibodies

At least 11 per cent Pakistanis have developed antibodies against coronavirus, according to a study that was conducted in 25 cities of the country.

This was revealed in the ‘National Seroprevalence Study’ that was started in July this year by the Health Services Academy in collaboration with multiple partners, including Aga Khan University, and with technical support from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The seropositivity was more in urban areas compared to rural areas; similarly those who had contact with Covid-19 positive person were more likely to have antibodies in their blood,” the study quoted by Dawn stated.

According to the study, the population that resides in urban areas and people up to middle age have better immunity against the contagion, whereas elderly people and population of the rural areas were more prone to the second wave of the infection.

The study said that young adults contracted the virus more than any other segment of the population. Furthermore, it was also found out in the study that the use of masks and frequent hand-washing in July was up to approximately 60pc and 70pc of population, respectively.

The study recommended that there was a need for enhanced sentinel site surveillance and ramping up of health facilities for Covid-19 treatment particularly in rural districts that have low immunity rates.

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