Ban on public gathering: Islamabad shuts down amid COVID-19 fear

Six more suspected coronavirus cases reported from twin cities

​ Our Correspondents March 15, 2020
Health workers in safety gear prepare to shift a suspected coronavirus patient to Pims. PHOTO: EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI/ ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) has issued a circular amid new novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

The administration has banned public gatherings including wedding receptions for three weeks in its fight to contain the possible outbreak of coronavirus.

It has also ordered the management of universities to ensure the eviction of students from hostels.

The Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) on Saturday banned public entry to the Islamabad Zoo, Daman-e-Koh, Pir Sohawa, Sector F-9 Park and all other recreational places under the Islamabad local government.

Mayor Sheikh Ansar said in a statement that all resources would be utilised to contain the spread of coronavirus in the federal capital. The MIC staff has been put on high alert amid the coronavirus situation, he added.

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Six more suspected patients reported

Meanwhile, six suspected patients of COVID-19 were reported from different parts of the twin cities. The patients include a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official, who was deployed at the immigration counter at the Islamabad International Airport (IIA), four passengers arriving at IIA and a female resident of Kalar Syedan area in Rawalpindi. Five of them were quarantined at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) while the female patient was shifted to the isolation ward of Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) in the garrison city.

Educational institutions sealed

The Rawalpindi district administration sealed some 38 educational institutions and tuition academies for opening by flouting the orders of national security council which has ordered the closure of educational institutions up to the university level until April 5.

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Some 14 schools, and 24 tuition centres were shut down by the administration in different parts of the Rawalpindi district. Meanwhile, All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association (APPSMA) Rawalpindi Division President Abrar Ahmad Khan asserted that the administration sealed schools unlawfully, asserting that there were no students and only offices were opened for management likewise in public schools.

Primary, secondary pupils to be promoted

The Punjab education ministry has decided to promote the students from pre-school to Grade VII to the next classes without conducting annual examinations.

The decision has been taken to save the educational year of the students.

A number of students who had reached the examination centres for attending matric exams were sent back and informed that the examinations have been suspended due to the coronavirus threat. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2020.

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