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COVID-19 second wave: Sindh cancels winter vacations, Balochistan shuts down schools

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The Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood had said the decision on early and extended winter vacations, in view of the rise in coronavirus cases across Pakistan, will be taken in a meeting on November 23. Photo: File

The Sindh government on Tuesday ruled out winter vacations while the Balochistan government opted for early and extended winter holidays as the country struggles to contain coronavirus spread.

Reflecting that students have been given more holidays than usual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said there was “no question of winter vacations right now”.

He added that a final decision on the matter will be taken during a National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) meeting scheduled for late November.

On the other hand, the Balochistan government announced early and extended vacations. Provincial Education Minister Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind the holidays will start December 1 while the new educational year will begin in March 2021.

The decisions come a day after Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood chaired a meeting of education ministers to devise a strategy to contain the rising COVID-19 prevalence in educational institutes.

During yesterday’s meeting, the provincial ministers briefed the forum about the latest coronavirus situation and the impact on the education sector in their respective regions, but no final decision was taken about vacations and the closure of schools.

The decision will be taken in the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference (IPEMC) scheduled for 11:00 am on November 23.

Rising spread

The coronavirus claimed 33 lives across Pakistan in the past 24 hours, according to data issued by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday.

The country’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 7,193 — with the last 193 deaths being reported in just eight days.

The NCOC data shows Pakistan recorded 14,606 new coronavirus cases in the past seven days, bringing the total tally to 361,082 today with 2,050 new cases. The number of active cases stands at 29,055.

The case positivity rate also shot up to 7% this week. The recovery rate is steady at 90% as a total of 324,834 COVID-19 have survived the virus.

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