ISLAMABAD: As the surge in Covid-19 cases continues unabated, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday issued new guidelines suggesting unvaccinated people should not be allowed to enter government offices.

Moreover, 641 people were infected with the virus during the past 24 hours, with the national positivity rate touching 3.41 per cent. Two persons succumbed to the virus and 119 patients were on critical care.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services said that unfortunately the pandemic had bounced back in the country. “Cases double in every five days, the number of patients being hospitalised is increasing and deaths are also being reported. It is worrisome that detection beyond Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore still has no signs of improvement despite repeated push,” he said.

Five cities reported over 3pc positivity. Karachi topped the list with 19.09pc positivity rate and 390 cases in a single day, followed by Mardan 5.95pc positivity, Muzaffarabad 4.62pc, Lahore 3.49pc and Mirpur reported 3.33pc.

Surge in Covid-19 cases continues unabated; 641 infected, two dead

The data showed a worrisome picture as the positivity rate in Mardan stood at 5.95pc, but it reported only five cases. Only 84 tests were carried out in the city.

Similarly, Muzaffarabad showed 4.62pc positivity, but three cases were reported from there. Mirpur reported 3.33pc positivity, but only one case was found there, as only 30 samples were collected from the city in a single day.

The NCOC guidelines suggested that Covid awareness programmes should be arranged in government offices and employees be also guided to protect their family members as well.

“They must also be guided to avoid overcrowded places. Mask wearing is mandatory. Social distancing must be part of seating plan in offices and this must also be ensured during prayers. Hand sanitisers at all entrances and washrooms should be made available.

“The officer responsible must ensure strict adherence to all Covid-19 protocols issued by the NCOC like vaccination, mandatory mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitisation. Vaccination status should be checked and handshakes avoided,” the guidelines stated.

It has been advised that temperature checking should be ensured at entry points and people with Covid-related symptoms should not be allow to enter office premises.

“Any person/staff with symptoms like fever, cough, sneezing and shortness of breath must be tested through Covid-19 PCR or Antigen testing. All staff coming back from leave must get negative PCR before joining. Vaccination/booster status must be ensured. Mask wearing, social distancing, and hand sanitisation must be adhered by all staff,” the guidelines stated.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2022

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