The government on Thursday decided to prolong the closure of all educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities, across the country till May 31.

The National Coordination Committee, in its fifth meeting, reviewed the current situation of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country and decided to implement the financial package of over Rs 1.2 trillion announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan for the people whose income has been badly hit due to lockdown in the country.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Minister for Planning Asad Umar said the government was actively monitoring the situation and taking precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The meeting was also attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for Religious Noor ul Haq Qadri, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza and National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lt General Muhammad Afzal .

Asad Umar said the special package would be implemented in letter and spirit and in a transparent manner so that its benefits could reach the deserving people. The government was also assembling a volunteers brigade consisting of young people about which Prime Minister Imran Khan himself make an announcement in a day or two, he added.

As regards the news about the shortage of wheat or wheat flour, the minister said at present some 1.7 million metric tonnes wheat was available in the stocks while the new crop was ready to yield, which would be procured by the government, for which a comprehensive plan was being evolved.

Asad Umar said some elements were reportedly hoarding the eatable commodities. He, however, expressed the government’s resolve that stern action action would be taken against such elements.

Regarding transportation issues and problems of fuel supplies in some areas of the country, the minister said the issue would be discussed in tomorrow’s meeting for sorting out a solution to ensure smooth fuel supplies.

He said the medical staff engaged in treating the coronavirus patients were the front line warriors.