NCOC extends anti-Covid restrictions to 27 cities

Says decision taken as several cities record double-digit positivity rates; implemented SOPs to be reviewed on Sept 13


ISLAMABAD:

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) – a high-level forum spearheading national efforts against coronavirus – has decided to extend the anti-coronavirus restrictions from 13 cities to 27 cities across Pakistan.

In a statement, the NCOC said the decision to extend the scope of the standard operation procedures (SOPs) was taken in light of an increase in coronavirus cases in Pakistan, with positivity rates in double digits in several cities. The spike in cases has also put a strain on the healthcare system, it added.

The cities where these SOPs will be implemented include Islamabad; Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Multan, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab; Hyderabad and Karachi in Sindh; Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Kashmir; Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan; Peshawar, Swat, Haripur, Mansehra, Lower Dir, Swabi, Abbottabad, Swat and Chitral Lower in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Anti-Covid SOPs

In the wake of the Covid-19 spread, the government has decided to reduce the timing of commercial activities barring essential services till 8pm. Markets will remain closed twice a week, it said, adding that provinces can decide on their own the days when markets will remain closed.

Restaurants cannot allow indoor dining, it said, adding that outdoor dining will be allowed till 10pm. Takeaway services will be available 24/7.

Similarly, there’s a ban on indoor weddings. Outdoor wedding ceremonies with a maximum limit of 300 guests will be allowed till 10pm. The restrictions on cinemas will remain in place. Amusement parks and swimming pools will remain closed. On the other hand, people can visit public parks but amid strict compliance with the SOPs.

Read NCOC bans train travel for unvaccinated citizens from Oct 1

According to the NCOC, the ban on contact sports (karate, boxing, martial arts, rugby, water polo, kabaddi and wrestling) will continue, whereas only vaccinated people will be able to go to indoor gyms.

The public and private offices will follow normal work hours with 50 per cent attendance, while public transport will also operate on 50 per cent capacity. Trains will be running at 70 per cent capacity.

Normal office hours for public and private offices will continue with 50% staff.

The NCOC also decided that educational institutions across the country will open three days a week with 50 per cent attendance. The anti-Covid nerve centre will review its implemented SOPs on September 13.

Covid cases

Pakistan reported 3,909 new cases of coronavirus during the past 24 hours, taking the tally for confirmed cases to 1,152,441.

 

At least 69 fatalities were also reported during the period. A total of 25,535 patients have succumbed to the virus in the country so far. The positivity ratio in the country currently stands at 6.21 per cent.




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