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The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has put off a decision on closing educational institutions, a development that comes as the country witnesses an ongoing fifth wave of the coronavirus.

As per Aaj News, the meeting, however, decided to enhance the speed of vaccination across Pakistan.

The NCOC meeting, chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, was attended by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan as well as provincial health and education ministers.

In a statement, the NCOC said, "Decision about education institutions will be taken on data of positive cases of various institutions for which massive testing in education institutions is being carried out."

On Saturday, the NCOC under the chairmanship of Umar had decided to call up a meeting of provincial education and health ministers to take fresh measures of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with a special focus on the education sector, public gatherings, marriage ceremonies, indoor/ outdoor dining, and the transport sector.

Surge in Covid-19: NCOC calls meeting of education, health ministers

The NCOC decided to extensively engage with the provinces, especially the Sindh government for necessary measures to tackle the rising disease. The meeting also decided to implement a complete ban on in-flight serving of meals/ snacks from January 17.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was asked to ensure in-flight mask-wearing and also implement SOPs at all the airports. Serving of meals and snacks in public transport will also be banned with effect from January 17.

Pakistan reports over 4,000 Covid-19 cases

Meanwhile, Pakistan reported another 4,340 Covid-19 cases on January 16, the highest since August 25 when it recorded 4,553 infections, as the country continued to witness the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The country's positivity ratio was recorded at 8.71% during the last 24 hours after 49,809 tests were conducted. So far, 1,328,487 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Pakistan.

There are currently 35,982 active cases, while 781 cases are critical. During the last 24 hours, seven deaths were reported, taking the death toll to 29,019.

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