ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday announced that Covid-19 vaccinations have been made mandatory for educational staff in order to ensure safe continuation of the education sector. The decision was taken in a meeting, chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and National Coordinator Hamood Uz Zaman Khan. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan also joined the meeting via video link. According to a press release, the command centre directed that vaccinations for educational staff be completed by June 10. It said that walk-in vaccination had already been opened across the country for all teachers and school staff above 18. After announcing mandatory vaccination, NCOC set dates for examinations of grades 10 and 12 to be held from June 23 to July 29. The forum decided that provinces would be allowed to open staggered classes for grades 10 and 12 from May 31 for exam preparations, subject to compliance with stringent Covid-19 standard operating procedures. Last week, the NCOC had allowed the staggered reopening of educational institutions from June 7 in districts where the positivity rate was less than five percent. It said that matric and intermediate exams would be held after June 20. During the meeting, it was decided that travelers from the United Arab Emirates would be required to furnish PCR tests from authorized laboratories and airlines would be fined in case of any violations or accepting PCR results from unauthorized laboratories. Upon arrival, the passengers would be retested and subjected to a strict mechanism of quarantine if found positive for Covid-19. Also, the NCOC decided that from June 1, tourists above 50 years of age, would not be allowed to stay in hotels in districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir without a vaccination certificate. The same restriction would apply to tourists above 30 from July 1. Additionally, amusement parks, water parks and swimming pools would also be allowed to reopen with 50 percent occupancy and strict SOPs in districts with a positivity rate at or below five percent. The session was held to review the implementation of SOPs and the current progress of vaccine administration across the country and expressed general satisfaction on the overall situation in the country. However, it said that the NCOC warned about the high prevalence of the disease in Sindh.