NCOC expands stricter Covid restrictions to 27 cities citing 'pressure on healthcare system'

Published August 29, 2021
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan (right) and Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar speak to the media in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV/File
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan (right) and Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar speak to the media in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV/File

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday decided to expand its stricter coronavirus-related standard operation procedures (SOPs) to 27 cities citing the pressure on healthcare system.

On August 2, the NCOC had revised its SOPs for 13 cities namely Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan in Punjab; Peshawar and Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh; Islamabad; Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Kashmir; and Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan. The SOPs were to remain in effect from August 3 to 31.

The NCOC today extended the stricter SOPs to 14 more cities, including Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala and Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab; and Swat, Haripur, Mansehra, Lower Dir, Swabi, Swat and Chitral in KP.

According to a press release issued by the NCOC, the restrictions would entail:

  • All commercial activities — except essential services — to be closed at 8pm
  • Two days in a week to be observed as safe days with provinces free to choose
  • Ban on indoor dining; outdoor dining allowed (till 10pm), takeaway and delivery will continue
  • Ban on indoor wedding ceremonies; outdoor wedding ceremonies with 300 guests allowed (till 10pm)
  • Ban on visiting shrines
  • Cinemas to remain closed
  • Contact sports to remain banned; indoor gyms allowed for vaccinated individuals
  • Normal working hours for public and private offices with 50 per cent staff attendance
  • Public transport to operate with 50pc occupancy; rail services to operate with 70pc
  • Amusement parks and swimming pools will remain closed; entry to public parks allowed subject to compliance with Covid-19 standard operating procedures
  • Educational institutions across the country to remain open for three days a week with 50pc attendance

The press release said the NCOC will conduct a review of the SOPs on September 13.

The fourth wave of the coronavirus continues to rage across Pakistan due to the presence of the Delta variant that was first detected in India.

All the while Pakistan has continued its inoculation campaign against Covid-19 with the milestone of over 50 million vaccine doses administered achieved on Friday.

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