NCOC expands Covid restrictions to 27 cities


Several cities record double-digit positivity rates

Staff Reporter

In a bid to control the spread of Covid-19 infection across the country, the National Command and Operation Centre on Sunday announced that it has decided to expand the current coronavirus restrictions to 27 cities of the country, that too beyond the earlier deadline of 31 August.

The body will review the restrictions on September 13. According to the body, the decision was taken in view of the growing number of positive cases and the ensuing pressure on the country’s healthcare system.

The NCOC said that considering the situation, the scope of the implementation of the SOPs has been extended to 27 cities of the country. Previously, these SOPs were only applicable to 13 cities.

As per the rules, all commercial activities — with the exception of essential services — will be closed by 8pm.

Similarly, there will be two safe days each week, which means that markets will remain closed twice a week. However, it will be up to the provinces to decide which days would be considered safe days.

Indoor dining will remain banned across the country, while outdoor dining will only be allowed until 10pm each day. Meanwhile, restaurant takeaway and delivery services will continue to operate 24/7.

As for wedding functions, indoor weddings will be completely banned, while outdoor wedding events will be allowed with a maximum limit of 300 guests. Outdoor events will have to be wound up by 10pm.

Shrines and cinema halls will remain closed, while games such as boxing, martial arts, rugby, water polo, kabaddi, and wrestling will also be banned.

Indoor gyms will remain open to only fully vaccinated individuals, the NCOC said. As per the previous SOPs, all public and private offices will continue to operate at a 50% capacity. Similarly, public transport will also function at a 50% capacity.

On the other hand, railway services will be allowed to operate at a 70% capacity. Recreational parks and swimming pools will remain closed, while public parks will remain open but people entering those parks will have to follow the SOPs strictly. The NCOC said educational institutions will operate at a 50% capacity thrice a week.

At the beginning of August, the NCOC had announced revised restrictions for a limited number of cities in the country where the positivity ratio of coronavirus was higher as compared to others.

Another 69 people lost their lives to Covid-19 in Pakistan, taking the total death toll in the country above 25,600, the National Command and Operation Centre revealed Sunday.

Per statistics released by the NCOC, the country recorded 3,909 new cases in the last 24 hours.

The country’s official coronavirus statistics website reveals that in the last 24 hours, 62,918 coronavirus tests were conducted across the country out of which 3,909 turned out to be positive.

Meanwhile, the rate of coronavirus positive cases in the country was reported to be 6.21% in the 24 hours.

According to the official portal, the total number of cases since the outbreak has reached 1,152,481. As of now, there are 93,504 active Covid-19 cases in the country.

The cities where these SOPs will be implemented include Islamabad; Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Multan, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab; Hyderabad and Karachi in Sindh; Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Kashmir; Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan; Peshawar, Swat, Haripur, Mansehra, Lower Dir, Swabi, Abbottabad, Swat and Chitral Lower in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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