NCOC opens Kartarpur Darbar to Sikh pilgrims

Published August 22, 2021
Workers clean the floor at the shrine of Baba Guru Nanak Dev at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. — AFP/File
Workers clean the floor at the shrine of Baba Guru Nanak Dev at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday allowed Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur to perform rituals in connection with the death anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji next month.

On the other hand, as many as 65 deaths and 3,084 new cases were reported in a single day, with the number of active cases rising to 89,044.

Meanwhile, another consignment of two million doses of a Chinese vaccine arrived on Saturday.

In another development, Pakistan provided lifesaving medical equipment, including 75 ventilators, to Sri Lanka to help it tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NCOC meeting unanimously decided to allow Sikh pilgrims to visit Kart­ar­pur next month under strict Covid-19 protocols.

It is worth mentioning here that due to the Delta variant, India had been in category C from May 22 till Aug 12, and special appro­val was required for people coming from the country, including Sikh pilgrims. However, now fully vaccinated persons with certificates will be allowed to enter Pakistan provided they show real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test reports which should not be more than 72 hours old.

Apart from this, Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) will also be conducted at airports and in case of a positive result, the individual will not be allowed to enter Pakistan. Besides, as per non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), a maximum of 300 people will be permitted to assemble at a time at the darbar.

According to an official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), Pakistan had introduced three categories to deal with coronavirus.

“Countries in category A are exempted from the mandatory Covid-19 test, travellers from areas falling in category B are required to present a negative PCR test that must be taken within 72 hours of the travel date while visitors from nations in category C are restricted and can travel only under specific NCOC guidelines,” the official said.

Meanwhile, a consignment of two million doses of Sinovac vaccine reached Pakistan.

An official of the NHS ministry said the vaccine was procured by the government and arrived in Islamabad from China on Saturday.

On the other hand, the NCOC data revealed that 65 patients succumbed to the virus and another 3,084 people got infected in the last 24 hours.

There were 89,044 active cases in the country as of August 21 out of whom 5,640 were admitted to hospitals across the country.

Medical aid for Sri Lanka

High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka retired Maj Gen Mohammad Saad Khattak along with Deputy High Commissioner Tanvir Ahmad called on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees and handed over lifesaving Covid-19 medical equipment on behalf of the Pakistani government.

The equipment included 75 ventilators and 150 C-PAP breathing aid machines manufactured in Pakistan.

“This is a robust expression of solidarity and support to Sri Lankan sisters and brothers in their fight against Covid-19 from the people and government of Pakistan. The high commissioner highlighted the government of Pakistan’s vision of regional partnerships for peace and sustainable development while reiterating its strong commitment to address the impact of the pandemic jointly with the regional countries particularly with friendly country Sri Lanka. It is also a testament to Pakistan’s strong commitment for promotion of regional cooperation under Saarc. This assistance of medical equipment is part of Pakistan’s Saarc Covid-19 emergency assistance to support regional efforts in the common fight against Covid-19 pandemic,” said a statement.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2021

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