No lockdown, curbs tightened


–New SOPs issued for schools in big cities
—Indoor dining, weddings banned in cities with infection rate higher than 10%
—Masses warned over fifth Covid wave
—New curbs imposed on cinemas, shrines, sports, parks, other sectors

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Wednesday announced new restrictions in cities with an over 10% Covid-19 positivity ratio as the country battles the fifth wave of the deadly pandemic.
Pakistan has reported about 5,472 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest since August last year. According to the forum, the Covid-19 positivity ratio has reached 9.48 per cent.
A meeting of the NCOC, which serves as the nerve centre of the country’s unified efforts to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, was held under the chairmanship of Planning Minister Asad Umar in Islamabad. The current situation of the coronavirus across the country and the implementation of precautionary measures were reviewed.
New curbs on schools, gatherings and other sectors were decided during the meeting. These include new restrictions for the wedding sector till February 15.
A complete ban on indoor weddings has been imposed, while outdoors weddings have been restricted to 300 fully vaccinated individuals.
A ban on all types of indoor gatherings, including dine-in, has also been imposed, whereas outdoor dining and takeaway have been allowed.
Education activities have also been limited in cities where the Covid-19 positivity rate was more than 10 per cent.
“Schools with students under 12 years of age will have 50% attendance with a three days per week schedule, whereas schools with students over 12 years of age will have 100% attendance,” the NCOC said, adding that vaccination is mandatory for all students above 12.
Indoor gyms will be allowed to operate on 50% capacity and cinemas, shrines, and parks will also be subject to 50% occupancy.
“All types of contact sports will be banned. Public transport has also been instructed to continue its work with a capacity of 70%,” the forum said.
Curbs on cities with Covid-19 positivity ratio less than 10%
Indoor gatherings, including weddings, of up to 300 people will be allowed in cities where Covid-19 positivity rate is up to 10%, while outdoor gatherings with a maximum limit of 500 guests have been permitted.
Gyms, dine-ins and parks will be open for fulling vaccinated individuals only.
The decision on changes in business and office hours was not made by the NCOC as of yet. The forum will meet again on January 27 to review the situation.