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Sindh announces to keep schools open amid alarming surge in COVID-19 cases

Government decides to make face masks compulsory in public place

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Sindh announces to keep schools open amid alarming surge in COVID-19 cases
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Karachi: The Sindh government has announced new coronavirus restrictions as the latest wave of coronavirus pandemic fuelled by the Omicron variant gripped the province especially Karachi. Schools will remain open and classes will be held as per schedule

According to details, Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah presided over a meeting of task force at CM House today and discussed the ongoing situation of COVID-19 in the metropolis.

During the session, the participants decided to make facemasks compulsory in public place and allowed entry of only vaccinated people in the markets. 

The meeting decided to keep the schools open continuing the educational activities.

The Task Force also decided to conduct a survey in all the hospitals including government and private to gauge their capacity of handling the growing number of Covid-19 patients and what else these hospitals need.

The Task Force maintained that wearing facemasks in public places was mandatory, which is also applicable on wedding halls, marquees and public places. The food should be served in boxes on wedding events, they directed.

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah warned that government officers who would not wear facemasks would be fined. It was proposed that the fine should be deducted as one-day salary of the violators.

The Sindh government also decided to accelerate the vaccination campaign through the province because the surge in coronavirus cases, as the chief minister said, was due to ignoring the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Siddra Sumreen

Syeda Siddra has been working as a web journalist for over the past seven years. She earned her M.Phil degree in Mass Communication from the Lahore Leads University. Ms. Siddra has previously worked with other renowned channels and is now associated with GNN as Senior Content Writer.

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Two colleges closed in Islamabad amid rising coronavirus cases

Six cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges of Islamabad

Published by Faisal Waqas

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Two colleges closed in Islamabad amid rising coronavirus cases

Islamabad: Islamabad administration has closed two colleges after emerging coronavirus cases on Sunday. 

According to the details garnered, positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges of the federal capital. In this regard, the Islamabad district health officer (DHO) has informed the Deputy Commissioner in a letter.

In the letter to the deputy commissioner (DC), the DHO informed that six cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges. The DHO said that three Corona cases have been reported in IMCG G-6/1, while three Corona cases have also come to light in IMCG F-6/2. 

Following to the coronavirus cases, the district health officer directed to close the two colleges immediately till the next order and spray disinfectant.

The letter said that the federal administration should conduct contact tracing and testing in both the colleges, while the tests should also be conducted of close relatives to the infected female students.

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Taliban pledge to open all schools for girls after March 21

Taliban say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March.

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Taliban pledge to open all schools for girls after March 21

Kabul: Afghanistan s new Taliban rulers say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March, their spokesman told The Associated Press, offering the first timeline for addressing a key demand of the international community.

Since the Taliban takeover in mid-August, girls in most of Afghanistan have not been allowed back to school beyond grade 7. The international community, reluctant to formally recognize a Taliban-run administration, is wary they could impose similar harsh measures as during their previous rule 20 years ago. At the time, women were banned from education, work and public life.

Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also the Taliban s deputy minister of culture and information, said their education departments are looking to open classrooms for all girls and women following the Afghan New Year, which starts on March 21. Afghanistan, like neighbouring Iran, observes the Islamic solar Hijri Shamsi calendar.

Education for girls and women “is a question of capacity,” Mujahid said in the interview.

Girls and boys must be completely segregated in schools, he said, adding that the biggest obstacle so far has been finding or building enough dorms, or hostels, where girls could stay while going to school. In heavily populated areas, it is not enough to have separate classrooms for boys and girls — separate school buildings are needed, he said.

“We are not against education,” Mujahid stressed, speaking at a Kabul office building with marble floors that once housed Afghan attorney general s offices and which the Taliban have adopted for their culture and information ministry.

The Taliban dictates so far have been erratic, varying from province to province. Girls have not been allowed back to classrooms in state-run schools beyond grade 7, except in about 10 of the country s 34 provinces. In the capital, Kabul, private universities and high schools have continued to operate uninterrupted. Most are small and the classes have always been segregated.

“We are trying to solve these problems by the coming year,” so that schools and universities can open, Mujahid said.

The international community has been skeptical of Taliban announcements, saying it will judge them by their actions — even as it scrambles to provide billions of dollars to avert a humanitarian catastrophe that the UN chief this week warned could endanger the lives of millions.

With a breakdown of services and only sporadic electricity in the bitterly cold Afghan winters, most people rely on firewood and coal for heat. Among the hardest hit are some 3 million Afghans who live as refugees within their own country, having fled their homes because of war, drought, poverty or fear of the Taliban.

Earlier this month, the United Nations launched a $5 billion appeal for Afghanistan, the single largest appeal for one country.

Washington has spent $145 billion on reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban regime. Yet even before the Taliban recaptured the country, the poverty rate was 54 per cent —and a 2018 Gallup poll revealed unprecedented misery among Afghans.

Mujahid appealed for economic cooperation, trade and “stronger diplomatic relations.” So far, neither Afghanistan s neighbours nor the United Nations seem ready to grant formal recognition which would help open up the Afghan economy. However, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for greater economic development, saying it s critical to rapidly inject liquidity into the Afghan economy “and avoid a meltdown that would lead to poverty, hunger and destitution for millions.”

The international community has called for a more representative government that includes women as well as ethnic and religious minorities. While all members of the new Taliban Cabinet are men and most are Taliban members, Mujahid said there are exceptions, such as the deputy finance minister and officials in the economics ministry who are holdovers from the previous, US-backed administration.

Mujahid also said 80 per cent of civil servants who have returned to work were employees under the previous administration. Women are working in the health and education sector and at Kabul International Airport in customs and passport control, he added. He did not say if or when women would be allowed to return to work in government ministries.

He also told the AP that most of the new government s revenue will come from customs that the Taliban will collect at border crossings with Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian nations to the north. Without offering figures, he claimed the Taliban have brought in more revenue in their first four months in power than the previous government in over a year.

He appealed to Afghans who have fled to return to their homeland. Since the takeover, there have been cases of opponents arrested, journalists beaten, rights workers threatened and demonstrations by women dispersed by heavily armed Taliban troops firing in the air.

Mujahid acknowledged incidents of Taliban members harassing Afghan civilians, including humiliating young men and forcibly cutting their hair.

“Such crimes happen, but it is not the policy of our government," he said, adding that those responsible were arrested.

“This is our message. We have no dispute with anyone and we don t want anyone to remain in opposition or away from their country.”

SOURCE: AP

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Three-week-old baby contracts COVID-19, dies

Several countries have registered a rise in childhood infections since the spread of the Omicron variant.

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Three-week-old baby contracts COVID-19, dies

Doha: A three-week-old baby has died from COVID-19 in Qatar, the health ministry said on Sunday, reporting a rare child fatality from the illness in the Gulf country.

"A three-week-old baby has sadly died as a result of severe infection from COVID-19," the emirate's public health ministry said in a statement.

"The baby had no other known medical or hereditary conditions", and was the second child to have died in the country since the pandemic began, it added.

Child deaths from COVID-19 are infrequent but health authorities in several countries have registered a rise in childhood infections since the spread of the Omicron variant.

The Qatari ministry said youngsters have generally been less at risk of severe COVID infection than older people, but that "a greater number of children are being infected in this current wave and needing medical care than in previous waves".

Gas-rich Qatar has officially recorded almost 300,000 cases of coronavirus and around 600 deaths, from 2.6 million residents.

Cases have surged in recent weeks, and in late December Qatar's main health care provider suspended leave for all medical and administrative staff dealing with COVID-19 cases.

SOURCE: AFP

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