NCOC expands stricter Covid curbs to 27 cities

-The decision taken in view of pressure on healthcare system
-Outdoor wedding events with 300 guests and dining allowed
-Visiting shrines prohibited, cinemas to remain closed
-Normal working hours with 50% staff attendance directed
-Education institutions to remain open three days a week

By Ali Imran

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 has extended the stricter SOPs to 14 more cities, including Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala and Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab; and 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.
All the while Pakistan has continued its inoculation campaign against Covid-19 with the milestone of over 50 million vaccine doses administered achieved on Friday.
These restrictions came after the national tally of total active COVID-19 cases was recorded 93,504 one of the highest during fourth wave of pandemic on Sunday with 3,909 more people testing positive for the deadly virus and 3,443 people recovering from the disease during the last 24 hours. Sixty-nine corona patients have died during past 24 hours, 62 of whom were under treatment in the hospitals and seven of them perished in their respective quarantines or homes, according to the latest update issued by the National command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
Most of the deaths occurred in Punjab followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Out of the total 69 deaths occurred, 31 of them died were under treatment on ventilators. There were 5,639 Covid infected patients under treatment in critical condition with 43 infected people admitted during past 24 hours in various Covid dedicated healthcare facilities of the country.
The National Covid positivity ratio during past 24 hours was recorded 6.21%.
The Covid positivity ratio is the percentage of actual positive cases appearing in every 100 tests performed to identify infected individuals. The maximum ventilators were occupied in four major cities including Islamabad 40%, Bahawalpur 47%, Lahore 48% and Multan 70%.
The maximum Oxygen beds (alternate oxygen providing facility other than ventilator administered as per medical requirement of COVID patient) was also occupied in four major cities of Abbottabad 76%, Swabi 83%, Swat 66%, and Gujranwala 60%.
Around 517 ventilators were occupied elsewhere in the country while no COVID affected person was on ventilator in Balochistan and Azad Gilgit Baltistan (GB).
Some 62,918 tests were conducted across the country on Saturday, including 18,895 in Sindh, 21,878 in Punjab, 11,601 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 6,330 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 2,031 in Balochistan, 706 Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and 1,477 in AJK. Around 1,033,373 people have recovered from the disease so far across Pakistan making it a significant count with over 90 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients.
Since the pandemic broke out, a total of 1,152,481 cases were detected that also included the perished, recovered and under treatment COVID-19 patients so far, including AJK 31,861, Balochistan 32,157, GB 9,855, ICT 98,739, KP 160,759, Punjab 389,688 and Sindh 429,422.
About 25,604 deaths were recorded in country since the eruption of the contagion. Around 6,812 people perished in Sindh, eight of them died in the hospitals and one out of the hospital on Saturday.
11,799 people died in Punjab died with 40 deaths occured in past 24 hours. Some 34 individuals died in the hospitals and six out of the hospitals. As many as 4,927 people expired in KP, 18 of them died in hospitals on Saturday, 861 individuals died in ICT, 338 people died in Balochistan, 173 infected people perished in GB, one of them died in the hospital on Saturday and 694 people died in AJK, one of them succumbed to the deadly virus in the hospital on Saturday.
A total of 17,647,941 corona tests have been conducted so far, while 639 hospitals are equipped with COVID facilities across the country. Some 6,173 corona patients were admitted to hospitals.