Rifaqatullah Razarwal

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to close schools in districts with over 5 percent coronavirus positivity rate from Monday.

According to a notification issued by the KP Elementary and Secondary Education Department (ESED) schools from primary to higher secondary level will remain closed from Monday in Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, Mohmand, Khyber, Mardan, Swabi, Lower Dir, Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Upper Dir, Buner, Bajaur, Upper Chitral, Lower Chitral, Abbottabad, Haripur, Mansehra, Battagram, Lower Kohistan, Kohat, Kurram, Karak, Bannu, North Waziristan and Dera Ismail Khan districts.

The announcement has been made under the decisions of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). The areas with corona positivity rate will keep the schools open with strict implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs). The decision has been taken keeping in view the alarming increase in corona cases in KP during its third wave.

Private schools in defiant mood

The owners of private schools have rejected the latest decision of the provincial government about closure of schools. They are of the opinion that educational institutions are being targeted unnecessarily. They say schools have no role in spreading of coronavirus infections and the real cause is political gatherings and influx of people in markets and bazaars.

Private Education Network General Secretary Syed Anas Takreem Kakakhel said while talking to TNN that the government has failed to curb political gatherings due to which the corona situation is going from bad to worse. However, he said, the government has found a soft target in shape of educational institutions which are bearing the brunt for the mistakes of others.

Anas Takreem says the government should utilise its energies and resources on implementation of SOPs rather than closing schools.

Health expert’s opinion

Young Doctors Association (YDA) member Dr Ijaz Yousafzai, who works in Khyber Medical College, welcomed the lockdown decision and said about 80 to 90 percent beds in large hospitals in KP have been occupied by corona patients and about 90 percent oxygen supply is also under use.

“It means that the health system would be under 100 percent burden and no more hospital admissions would be possible if the number of patients grew by 10 to 15 percent,” he warned, and added that it may lead to horrible situation in shape of death of more patients due to non-availability of oxygen.

He still believes that the government’s current actions are not enough, and complete lockdown must be imposed in the whole country for two weeks.

Dr Ijaz says we must learn from precarious situation in Afghanistan where a large number of patients are dying due to oxygen shortage.

“Why we are waiting for the situation to go out of hand,” he said.

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