100pc stadium capacity allowed for Australia Test series

Published March 2, 2022
Australia's cricketers take part in a practice session at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. — AFP
Australia's cricketers take part in a practice session at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Nati­onal Command and Oper­ation Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19 has decided to allow 100 per cent stadium capacity for the month-long Pakistan-Australia cricket series, starting from March 4.

The decision was taken on Tuesday when the Australian team started preparations at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium for the first test match against Pakistan.

While the coronavirus positivity across the country was recorded at 2.29 per cent, the NCOC data showed it was between 5pc and 10pc in Rawalpindi and Hyder­abad. Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and Nowshera reported more than 10pc Covid positivity.

According to a document available with Dawn, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been allowed to conduct Pakistan vs Aust­ralia cricket matches, scheduled for March 4 to April 5, at 100pc stadium capacity. The matches in Rawalpindi are scheduled for March 4 to 8, while those in Karachi and Lahore will be held from March 12 to 16 and March 21 to 25, respectively.

The PCB has been directed to ensure that only fully vaccinated spectators of 12 years and above age group are allowed to attend the matches. But there is no such requirement for children below 12 years.

Strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols by spectators and organisers will have to be ensured, according to the document.

Talking to Dawn about the Covid-19 situation in Pakistan, University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram said the worst was over, but the virus had not been eradicated so far.

“Potential [threat] of virus is still there and I believe we will have regular outbreaks of virus though cases were decreasing beca­use of the mass vaccination. However, a new variant ‘Stealth Omicron’ has been reported in Scandinavian countries. It is observed that whenever the number of cases rises, people get scared and start following the standard operating procedures,” he said.

Sharing a different opinion with Dawn, Vice Chanc­ellor of Health Services Academy Dr Shahzad Ali Khan said that due to spread of Omicron variant of Covid in recent months, a large number of people developed immunity without even going for lab test.

“I believe around 80pc of people are either vaccinated or infected by virus. Majority of people are both infected and vaccinated so they are more immune. In Pakistan, there is hardly any chance for virus mutation as majority of people are vaccinated and virus only mutates in unvaccinated people,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2022

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