ISLAMABAD: As the cases of Covid-19 continue to decrease across the country, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday decided to lift additional restrictions in six districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
However, general non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) will remain enforced across the country till Sept 30. The situation will be reviewed on Sept 28.
The NCOC had on Sept 4 enforced restrictions in 24 districts of Punjab, KP and Islamabad. The restrictions included a ban on indoor gatherings and intercity transport and closure of educational institutions and indoor gyms. Initially, the restrictions were imposed till Sept 12, but later extended to Sept 15.
The NCOC later decided to lift the restrictions in 18 districts on Sept 16, but continued to enforce these in six high disease prevalence districts.
During a meeting chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Tuesday, the NCOC decided to lift additional restrictions in the remaining six districts — Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha and Gujrat in Punjab and Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. All educational institutions in these districts will open from Sept 23 and follow staggered opening (50 per cent attendance, three days a week).
According to a document, general NPIs will remain enforced across the country till Sept 30 under which businesses of less essential services will be closed at 10pm. However, petrol pumps, pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centres, clinics, milk shops and tandoors will remain open. There will be one closed day in a week and indoor and outdoor dining will be allowed till midnight. However, indoor dining and marriages will be allowed only for vaccinated people.
Public transport will be run at 50pc and trains at 70pc occupancy. However, cinemas will remain closed.
Policy of controlled tourism for vaccinated individuals will continue and will be ensured by the federating units. The ban on serving meals/snacks during in-flight journey for domestic airlines will continue
Meanwhile he Islamabad High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition suggesting that people should have the right to decide whether they want to get inoculated or not.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that people across the globe had been struggling to overcome the enormous challenges for the last two years due to Covid-19.
“It is noted that unvaccinated persons are likely to impede the endeavors of the state to safeguard its citizens from life-threatening harm. For the above reasons, the prayers sought in the instant petition are not justiciable nor the rights of the petitioner have been infringed. The petition is, therefore, accordingly dismissed,” the court ruled.
Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2021