NIH plans ‘massive’ covid-19 testing drive in schools

ISLAMABADThe National Institute of Health (NIH) has finalized arrangements to launch a “massive” countrywide COVID-19 testing drive at educational institutions to stem the spread of new Omicron Covid variant cases.

The NIH has decided to commence large-scale coronavirus testing at educational institutions across the country, sources informed ARY News, adding that the campaign will continue for two weeks.

The health ministry also decided to close educational institutions for one week reporting the highest Covid-19 positivity ratio, said sources.

Meanwhile, the NIH has also declared Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for students aged 12 years and above, while the non-vaccinated students have to show medical exemption certificates, sources added.

The development comes after coronavirus cases increased in educational institutions.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) yesterday decided against closing schools in light of rising cases of Covid-19.

Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar presided over a meeting of the NCOC that took stock of the current Covid-19 situation and mulled over restrictions to control the spread of the virus.

Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and provincial education ministers attended the meeting via video link.

The country’s nerve centre for Covid response had decided to begin large-scale Covid-19 testing at educational institutions. The decision on closure of schools will be taken after reviewing the case trend, it said.

Pakistan has reported 5,034 fresh cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, pushing the countrywide tally of cases to 1,333,521.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), a total of 53,253 samples were tested, out of which 5,034 turned out to be positive at the positivity rate of 9.45 per cent.

Ten more patients of COVID-19 succumbed to the viral disease in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 29,029. The number of critical patients rose to 827.

Pakistan has conducted 24,239,761 tests so far to diagnose the deadly virus and 1,264,611 people have regained their health. TF REPORT

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