NCOC bans indoor dining and weddings for cities with Covid positivity rate over 10pc

Published January 19, 2022
A view of a restaurant's interior. — Photo courtesy: Lahore Social Facebook
A view of a restaurant's interior. — Photo courtesy: Lahore Social Facebook

The National Command and Operation Centre on Wednesday banned indoor gatherings, weddings and dining in districts and cities with Covid-19 positivity rate exceeding 10 per cent as part of new curbs meant to tackle the pandemic's fifth wave being driven by the Omicron variant.

A press release issued from the forum said the decision was among various non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) decided that will remain in effect from Jan 20 to 31, adding that a review will be held on Jan 27 to assess the situation at that time. The ban on indoor dining, however, will go into effect from Jan 24.

The decisions were taken after the NCOC held a detailed review of the country's current coronavirus situation along with the corresponding NPIs. The forum differentiated the new NPIs depending on whether districts have Covid-19 positivity rate up to 10pc or above it.

According to data released by the NCOC, a positivity of rate of more than 10pc was recorded in seven cities over the past 24 hours. Among them, Karachi reported the highest positivity rate of 40.13pc, followed by 21.43pc in Muzaffarabad, 15.15pc in Lahore, 13.98pc in Hyderabad, 11.80pc in Islamabad, 10.68pc in Peshawar and 10.26pc in Rawalpindi.


The NPIs to be implemented are as follows depending on the positivity rate and specify that they are for fully vaccinated individuals:

Gatherings:

  • Indoor gatherings allowed up to 300 individuals, outdoor up to 500 for districts with positivity up to 10pc
  • Indoor gatherings banned, outdoor up to 300 for districts with positivity rate more than 10pc (with effect from Jan 24)

Weddings:

  • Indoor weddings allowed up to 300 individuals, outdoor up to 500 for districts with positivity rate up to 10pc
  • Indoor weddings banned, outdoor up to 300 for districts with positivity rate more than 10pc (with effect from Jan 24 and will remain effective till February 15)

Dining:

  • Indoor and outdoor dining both allowed for districts with positivity rate up to 10pc
  • Indoor dining banned (with effect from Jan 24), outdoor allowed for districts with positivity rate more than 10pc

Education sector:

  • Education activities will continue for those under and over 12 in districts with positivity rate up to 10pc
  • Education activities will continue with staggered attendance at 50pc capacity for those under 12 and 100pc attendance for those over 12 in districts with positivity rate more than 10pc
  • Those over 12 will need to be fully vaccinated in both situations
  • Vaccination will be mandatory (at least one dose) for those over 12 from Feb 1
  • Aggressive sentinel testing to be carried out for targeted closures in institutes with high disease prevalence
  • Federating units in consultation with health authorities will decide limits for closure of educational institutions

Gyms, cinemas, shrines, amusement parks:

  • Indoor activities allowed for districts with positivity rate up to 10pc
  • Indoor activities allowed at 50pc capacity for districts with positivity rate more than 10pc

Sports:

  • All sports activities allowed for districts with positivity rate up to 10pc
  • Ban on contact sports (karate, boxing, martial arts, rugby, water polo, wrestling and kabaddi) for districts with positivity rate more than 10pc

The NCOC decided that markets and business activities will continue without any restrictions and normal working hours with 100pc employee attendance will be followed, provided that they are fully vaccinated. However, it did add that work from home is encouraged.

Occupancy in public transport was set at 70pc and 80pc in railways, with continuous mask-wearing throughout journeys. The ban on serving of meals was also maintained for public transport and domestic air travel.

The curbs come as the country is in the grip of the fifth wave which is being driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Pakistan reported 5,472 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, marking the highest daily caseload since August 4 when 5,661 infections were recorded.

The country's positivity rate is 9.5pc with Sindh and Punjab leading the charge in new cases reported.

Meanwhile, several educational institutions in Islamabad and Karachi have either been sealed or suspended their activities, while districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been ordered to implement smart lockdowns in Covid hotspots.

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