NCOC makes complete vaccination mandatory for entry to mosques, places of worship

Published January 22, 2022
Worshippers pray in a mosque in Karachi. — AFP/File
Worshippers pray in a mosque in Karachi. — AFP/File

Only vaccinated individuals will be allowed to enter mosques and other places of worship, according to a notification issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday as the fifth wave of the pandemic, driven by the Omicron variant, continues to spread through the country.

The forum undertook a detailed review of the disease's current situation in the country and agreed to implement a series of protocols to stem the virus' spread.

Apart from restricting entry to vaccinated individuals, entrants will also have to wear masks and maintain a social distance of six feet along with frequent hand sanitisation.

The NCOC directed that carpets at places of worship be removed and attendance for prayers should be minimal. It further decided that Friday sermons should be brief, and doors and windows should be open to ensure ventilation, though it would be preferable to hold prayers in open spaces.

The forum also advised the elderly and people with co-morbidities to "preferably offer prayers at home", also recommending that ablutions be performed at home.

The curbs come a day after Pakistan recorded its highest number of daily Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic with 7,678 cases. The cases had caused the nat­ional positivity rate to jump from 11 per cent to 12.93pc on Friday.

Karachi had the highest positivity rate in the country with 45.43pc, followed by 23.94pc in Muzaffarabad. The positivity rate in Islamabad was 18.91pc, 17.89pc in Lahore, 17.47pc in Rawalpindi and 15.59pc in Peshawar.

The NCOC had announced that all schools in areas with a high Covid-19 positivity ratio would remain closed for one week, across the country.

Earlier this week, the forum banned indoor gatherings, weddings and dining in districts and cities with a positivity rate exceeding 10pc as part of new curbs meant to tackle the fifth wave.



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