NCOC expands corona curbs over growing pressure on healthcare system

Statesman Report

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday decided to expand its stricter coronavirus-related standard operation procedures (SOPs) to 27 cities citing the pressure on healthcare system.

On August 2, the NCOC had revised its SOPs 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.

The NCOC Sunday extended the stricter SOPs to 14 more cities, including Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala and Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab; and Swat, Haripur, Mansehra, Lower Dir, Swabi, Swat and Chitral in KP.

According to a press release issued by the NCOC, the restrictions would entail:

All commercial activities — except essential services — to be closed at 8pm

Two days in a week to be observed as safe days with provinces free to choose

Ban on indoor dining; outdoor dining allowed (till 10pm), takeaway and delivery will continue

Ban on indoor wedding ceremonies; outdoor wedding ceremonies with 300 guests allowed (till 10pm)

Ban on visiting shrines

Cinemas to remain closed

Contact sports to remain banned; indoor gyms allowed for vaccinated individuals

Normal working hours for public and private offices with 50 per cent staff attendance

Public transport to operate with 50pc occupancy; rail services to operate with 70pc

Amusement parks and swimming pools will remain closed; entry to public parks allowed subject to compliance with Covid-19 standard operating procedures

Educational institutions across the country to remain open for three days a week with 50pc attendance

The press release said the NCOC will conduct a review of the SOPs on September 13. The fourth wave of the coronavirus continues to rage across Pakistan due to the presence of the Delta variant that was first detected in India.