ISLAMABAD            -            Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday directed finalisation of recommendations in consultation with provincial governments and administrations of educational institutions, ahead of a Sept 7 meeting that would take decision about reopening of schools from Sept 15.

The prime minister was chairing a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on COVID-19 that discussed the roadmap on resumption of academic activities in view of the improving situation in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, and the precautionary measures needed to be taken at the educational institutions. 

The meeting was attended by federal ministers; Asad Umar, Shafqat Mehmood, Ghulam Sawar Khan, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Mohammad Hammad Azhar, Syed Fakhar Imam,  Advisers including Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistants Dr Sania Nishtar, Dr Faisal Sultan, Lt General (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, Dr Moeed Yousaf, Chairman NDMA and other senior officials. Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Farooq Haider Khan, provincial chief ministers also attended the meeting through video link.

The meeting deliberated at length on measures needed to be adopted during Muharram, restoration of academic activities in educational institutions, testing, tracking and quarantine strategy. The meeting also took into account the steps required for opening up of the tourism sector, policy of testing, micro smart lockdown and the aviation sector. It was decided to review the health protocols being adopted for the domestic flights.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar gave a detailed briefing on the overall situation related to the coronovirus and presented a comparative analysis of the situation in Pakistan in relation to the countries of the region.

The meeting was informed that the government’s response towards the pandemic was recognised internationally and significant improvement in situation was witnessed owing to blessings of Allah Almighty and the strategy adopted, contrary to the situation in the neighbouring countries. The meeting was told that the number of positive COVID-19 cases has significantly declined in the country.

The meeting was also given a briefing on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place during Muharram processions and Majalis. The prime minister lauded the contribution of all those related to the medical professionals in the fight against COVID-19, the role of NCOC, law enforcement agencies, provincial governments and other relevant departments.

He said effective coordination and comprehensive strategy helped the country succeed against the pandemic. He however cautioned that the threat of the virus was not over and urged upon the general public to continue compliance of SOPs.

For Muharram, the prime minister stressed the need to adopt precautionary measures, including wearing of face masks. He thanked the religious scholars from all sects for their understanding of the seriousness of the situation and their role in raising awareness amongst the people.

The prime minister said he had assured the Chief Minister Sindh of full support of the federal government in mitigating the sufferings of the people of the province, particularly Karachi, in the wake of heavy rains and inundation of large areas of the city. He said he would be visiting Karachi in next few days and would personally oversee the progress on the relief measures.