The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to extend the anti-coronavirus restrictions from 13 cities to 27 cities across Pakistan citing the pressure on the healthcare system.
According to the statement issued on Sunday, the NCOC said the decision to extend the scope of the standard operation procedures (SOPs) was taken in light of an increase in coronavirus cases in Pakistan, with positivity rates in double digits in several cities.
Earlier this month, the NCOC had revised its restrictions for 13 cities namely Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Multan in Punjab; Peshawar and Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh; Islamabad; Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Kashmir; and Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan. The SOPs were to remain in effect from August 3 to 31.
Another 14 cities where stricter COVID-19 guidelines will be in place are Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, and Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab; and Swat, Haripur, Mansehra, Lower Dir, Swabi, Swat, and Chitral in KP.
As a fourth wave of the coronavirus endures to sweep the country due to local transmission of the highly contagious delta variant, the restrictions will be expanded “in view of the current epidemic situation and the growing pressure on medical facilities,” the NCOC, which oversees Pakistan’s pandemic response, said in a notification.
According to the NCOC statement, the restrictions in cities would entail:
- All commercial activities, except essential services including grocery stores and pharmacies, will be suspended by 8 pm.
- Markets in all 27 cities will be closed twice a week, while indoor dining and gatherings will be banned.
- Indoor wedding ceremonies will be banned while outdoor wedding ceremonies will be allowed with 300 guests till 10 pm.
- Shrines, cinemas, recreational parks, and swimming pools will remain closed.
- Educational in schools will be allowed thrice a week with 50 percent attendance.
- Public and private offices and public transport will be allowed to operate at a 50 percent capacity, and railways at a 70 percent capacity throughout the country.
Moreover The South Asian nation of 220 million people has reported 3,838 new coronavirus cases and 118 deaths over the past 24 hours. Over 25,788 people have died of the virus since the beginning of the outbreak in February last year, according to a government portal.
Meanwhile, the ratio of coronavirus positive cases in the country was informed to be 7.36% in the 24 hours.