All educational institutions closed till April 5 to stop corona spread

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), here Friday. - PID photo

ISLAMABAD: National Security Committee Friday decided to close all educational institutions in the country, including schools and universities, public and private, vocational institutions and religious seminaries, till fifth of next month as a measure to stop spread of coronavirus.
This was stated by Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood in a tweet on Friday. The minister said the situation regarding closure of all educational institutions in the country would be reviewed by the Ministry of Education on 27th of this month and further decisions will be taken.
However, the educational institutions working under the ambit of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) Islamabad will remain closed till April 12, 2020 in line with the spring vacations schedule already issued, said a notification issued by FDE soon after the minister’s tweet.
The National Security Committee (NSC) also decided to close the border with Iran and Afghanistan and cancelling the Pakistan Day parade held annually on March 23.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was attended by the provincial chief ministers and the civilian and military leadership.
It was decided during the meeting that only three airports in the country – Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore – will be allowed to operate international flights in limited numbers, while other airports will only allow domestic flights, according to media reports.
The pilgrims who have returned to the country from Iran will be screened again, and will be placed under quarantine if they test positive for the virus.
Officials said foreign missions in Pakistan and Pakistan’s missions abroad have been directed not to host any ceremonies or functions. Similarly, large public gatherings will be discouraged.
The NSC decided to give the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) the lead role in dealing with the coronavirus threat, and the authority will coordinate with the provincial governments to streamline the efforts.
A system for coordination between the federal and provincial governments will also be established.
Meanwhile, Pakistani High Commission in London has suspended its services for an unidentified period amid rising cases of novel coronavirus in the United Kingdom (UK). The high commission has advised the visitors to use online services until further directions from the government.
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has announced to initially operate three special flights to bring back all Umrah pilgrims to the country following the latest directives of Saudi Arabian government. The PIA administration has completed special arrangements for the return of Iqama holders in Pakistan and repatriation of the pilgrims from Saudi Arabia.
According to details, first flight, PK-763/764, will be operated from Islamabad to Jeddah on Sunday while second flight, PK-718/717, will take off from Karachi to Madinah on Saturday and third flight, PK-767/768, from Karachi to Jeddah on the same day.
More flights are also being planned by the PIA for the transportation of Pakistanis and it has advised all passengers to immediately contact PIA offices who are willing to travel to Saudi Arabia before ending of 72-hour deadline set by Riyadh.
Earlier, Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in its circular sent to all air carriers operation from and to the airports of Saudi Arabia stated, “A time limit of (72) hours is given to citizen of the Kingdom and current residents holding valid Iqama to return to the Kingdom.” A hotline has also been established at embassies and consulates by Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs. – TLTP