On Wednesday, new SOPs have been issued in Punjab for official and public rallies, meetings, gatherings in wake of the expected second wave of COVID-19.
The Punjab government issued new standard guidelines as the second wave of coronavirus is expected to attack soon. The primary & secondary healthcare department categorized 4 types of gatherings. The department said the concentration of people at a specific location for a specific purpose over a set period of time has the potential to strain the planning and response resources of the state.
“Since mass gatherings have substantial political, cultural, social, and economic implications, such pro-crowd activities increase Covid-19 transmission risk manifolds, thereby, warranting the need for a stringent set of Standard Operating Procedures”, the health department said.
The gathering with uncertain profiles and behaviors of participants is highly risky and so under such conditions, controlling the crowd becomes difficult. It is being expected that people might act enthusiastically, for example; public rallies, processions, religious gatherings other than prayers, and political movements, etc.
Gatherings have been categorized in the view of corona spread risk, crowed management, and violation of social distancing SOPs, Punjab department categorized on the recommendation of the Technical Working Group on Covid-19.
“The gathering where crowed is under semi-control condition is categorized as high-risk gathering. For these events time, venue and duration is limited e.g. religious gathering (prayers assembly), marriage ceremonies, cultural events, sport events, awareness walks etc.
“The gathering where participation is under control condition. Participants would have some professional background and can understand Covid-19 SOPs easily e.g. professional conferences, academic exhibitions, seminars etc.”
“The gathering where participation and crowd management are under full control. Participants are trained on Covid-19 SOPs and realize official obligations to comply with the precautions.”
“The risk assessment should be undertaken by respective public health authorities and event organizers with input from other relevant authorities,”
“As a guiding principle, districts where cases are on rise and Covid-19 Test Positivity Rate (CTPR) is above 5pc, “very high risk mass gathering” activities will not be allowed.”