ISLAMABAD – The National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) has extended coronavirus restrictions to another 14 cities with high infection rates as the country is witnessing the fourth wave of the pandemic.
A statement issued by the country’s nerve center on the novel disease said the decision to extend the scope of the SOPs was taken in wake of a recent surge in cases, with positivity rates in double digits in the number of cities which has also put a strain on the healthcare system.
The 14 new cities where these SOPs will be implemented include 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.
Under the tighter curbs, all commercial activities will not be allowed after 8 pm while all markets will remain closed on two days. Only outdoor dining will be allowed till 10 pm while restaurants cannot allow indoor dining, it said.
No indoor wedding ceremonies will be allowed amid the Covid surge while Outdoor ceremonies with a maximum limit of 300 guests will be allowed till 10 pm. Cinemas, amusement parks, and swimming pools will also remain closed.
It further added that only vaccinated people will be able to go to indoor gyms while other indoor sports activities will not be allowed till further notice.
The public and private offices will follow normal work hours with 50 percent staff, while public transport will also operate at half capacity. Pakistan Railway will be running at 70 percent capacity.
Pakistan’s top monitoring body also mentioned that educational institutions will open three days a week with half attendance.
Meanwhile, NCOC will conduct a review of the SOPs on September 13 and the decision to ease or continue the curbs will depend on the situation, it said.