PESHAWAR: Amid growing infections rate of coronavirus, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to close schools in nine districts in an effort to curb the spread of infections during its third wave.

Decision to this effect was taken during a meeting of the KP Task Force on COVID-19 chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Tuesday. The meeting decided that schools will be closed in Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Kohat, Malakand, Swat and Lower Dir.

Schools in Peshawar have already been closed for two weeks from Monday under the decision of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). So with inclusion of the provincial metropolis, the schools will effectively remain closed in 10 districts of KP. It was also decided that schools in other districts will have to be closed if corona positivity rate crossed 10 percent.

No such decision was taken for the schools in southern districts of KP as it was told that coronavirus positivity rate in that areas is at one percent at present. Therefore, a conditional permission was granted for jeep rally and Dera Jat festival. It was decided that coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be strictly enforced in the festival and in case of non-compliance, the programs will be closed.

The meeting thoroughly reviewed coronavirus situation in KP and formed a committee consisting of concerned ministers to mull over closure of markets too. The committee members include Health and Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra, Labour Minister Shaukat Yousafzai and Special Assistant on Information Kamran Bangash.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said the third wave of coronavirus is worrisome but government is taking all necessary measures to curb spread of the disease. He urged people to strictly follow the precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the disease. The chief minister said the nation could cope with the challenge of pandemic through exhibiting responsibility.

The decision about closure of schools came a day after the KP government enforced special measures in seven districts to curb the spread of coronavirus by reducing the market timings and banning public events.

According to an official notification, the special measures have been introduced in Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Abbottabad, Swat, Swabi and Malakand.


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