The government of Punjab on Saturday renewed its guidelines against Covid-19, deciding to set up special counters at places frequented by people – such as wedding halls, cinemas and hotels – to check Covid-19 vaccination certificates of visitors.
"Those violating the standard operating procedures (SOPs) will face action as per law," said Sarah Aslam, Punjab Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department Secretary, in a statement issued today.
The provincial government also decided to establish a control room to monitor the implementation of SOPs at restaurants, wedding halls, cinemas and hotels.
The new SOPs are being introduced in view of the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases countrywide.
Earlier, the NCOC had confirmed the presence of different variants of coronavirus in Pakistan, including the Delta variant, first discovered in India, the Beta variant that was first detected in South Africa, and the Alpha variant that was discovered in the United Kingdom.
The NCOC had said that these variants were detected in Pakistan in May and June.
The government’s Covid-19 portal indicates the number of daily Covid-19 cases dropped from four digits to three digits on June 25. The daily cases being reported remained close to the 900 mark till June 27 and further fell to 735 on June 28.
However, the number of cases started going up again gradually and doubled in just one week. The positivity rate, which stood at less than 2 per cent in June, crossed 3pc after a gap of 20 days on Wednesday.
Aslam said the new guideless were being adopted in line with the directives of the NCOC issued a day ago.
Underlining that special SOPs have been devised for hotels, restaurants, wedding halls, gyms and cinema halls, she said counters would be set up at all such places to check vaccination certificates of people.
She also called upon all traders to ensure inoculation of their staff against the coronavirus.
Under the new directives, she said no restaurant will be allowed to operate dine-in facility after 11.59pm, while only 50 per cent occupancy will be permitted at all eateries. Similarly, no more than 200 guests will be allowed at wedding halls.
The provincial health secretary insisted that vaccination was the only solution to protect people from the dangerous “Delta variant” of the Covid-19.
Emphasising that Covid-19 vaccines were available at inoculation centres in “sufficient quantity” across the province, the secretary urged people to get themselves vaccinated and adhere to the precautionary measures laid by the government for safety of the masses.
A day ago, the NCOC announced that unvaccinated people will not be allowed to travel by air starting August 1.
In its review of the measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in view of the spread of the Delta variant, which it termed “extremely dangerous”, the NCOC also declared it mandatory for adult students to get themselves vaccinated by August 31.
The NCOC had also held a special meeting of the provincial chief secretaries two days ago to discuss measures for controlling violations of pandemic-related SOPs.
During the meeting, the federating and administrative units were directed to take strict action against violators of the SOPs and expedite vaccination process so that herd immunity could be achieved at the earliest.