ISLAMABAD - The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Wednesday discussed testing strategy for educational institutions after recommencement expected from September 15 to in time detection of disease spread and pandemic hotspots. The NCOC meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar took stock of update on meeting related to opening up of schools and testing strategy for educational institutions.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Umar said the sequence designed to open up educational institutions had been agreed by the Ministry of Education. However, the next major challenge was to enforce standard operating procedures (SOPs) and health guidelines in around 300,000 educational institutions across the country and all focus should be made in this regard.

The Forum was informed that a four-strand strategy was devised for testing in educational institutions.

The Forum was briefed the strategy had been formed keeping in view the 20 major high-risk cities with 76 percent of the total COVID cases reported in the country. It added that the students under this strategy would be randomly screened whereas screening of the teachers would be carried out on periodic basis.

18 more deaths, 441 Covid-19 cases reported

The country has reported 18 deaths and 441 more Covid-19 cases during the last 24 hours showing an upward trend in terms of fatalities.

According to the official figures, the death toll has reached 6318 with 18 casualties during the last 24 hours.

The total recoveries from coronavirus infection in the country stand at 281,459 while 584 patients are in critical condition at present.

Sindh has reported 212 coronavirus cases and 6 deaths during the last 24 hours. With the new cases, the provincial tally has risen to 129,827 while the death toll is 2,415. Punjab has reported 89 new coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours. This has taken the provincial tally of cases to 96,921. The province has also reported 5 more deaths, taking the total number of fatalities in the province to 2,204. Gilgit-Baltistan has seen increase in Covid-19 deaths with 4 more fatalities recorded during the last 24 hours. Islamabad has reported 17 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the government’s coronavirus portal, taking the capital’s total to 15,666. Azad Jammu and Kashmir has reported 3 new infections.