ISLAMABAD - The government has decided to issue new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for wedding halls and restaurants throughout the country after coming to know that such facilities are turning major potential hotspots for the spread of deadly coronavirus. 

The decision was taken in the light of daily situational briefing on the pandemic held at the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) under the chair of Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar.

The forum was apprised that non-compliance of mask wearing and social distancing may give rise to spread of coronavirus, said a statement issued by the NCOC after the meeting.

The meeting was informed that “marriage halls and restaurants are turning major centers for disease spread.” However, NCOC appreciated education sector for their efforts in adherence to following health guidelines and protocols.

Asad Umar during the NCOC meeting said that monitoring of Covid-19 prevalence and containment measures were important. “Wearing of face masks is the key to control spread of disease,” he said adding that winter spike could be avoided with compliance of SOPs.  

Latter, the Planning Minister talking to a private TV channel said that in the first phase, SOPs about marriage halls would be issued on Wednesday. The SOPs would include fixing number of citizens and working hours for marriage halls.

In the second phase, he said that SOPs about restaurants would be issued with fixing seating capacity, determining maximum number of customers at one time and working hours. Under the SOPs, the wearing of masks would be made mandatory in restaurants.

According to the latest data issued by NCOC, as many as 644 people tested positive for Covid-19 on October 4 and four Covid-19 patients lost their lives during the last 24 hours.  

There are total 8,907 active Covid cases in the country as of October 5 while 29,565 tests were conducted on October 4, according to the data. Out of the total tests conducted, 10,813 were carried out in Sindh, 9,325 in Punjab, 3,844 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 3,053 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 1,475 in Balochistan, 510 in Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and 545 in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK).

About 299,836 people have recovered so far across Pakistan making it a significant count, the latest data of NCOC said adding that there was no patient on ventilator in AJK and Balochistan.

So far, 88 ventilators are occupied across Pakistan out of 1912 ventilators allocated for Covid-19 patients.

In Pakistan, a total of 315,260 cases of Covid-19 have been detected since outbreak of pandemic including 2,862 in AJK, 3,852 in GB, 15,399 in Balochistan, 16,789 in ICT, 38,076 in KP, 99,941in Punjab, and 138,341 in Sindh.

As many 6,517 deaths have been reported in the country due to the deadly virus with 2,521 in Sindh, 2,240 in Punjab, 1,262 in KP, 183 in ICT, 146 in Balochistan, 89 in GB, and 76 in AJK.

As many 36,78,534 tests were conducted in the country since the outbreak of pandemic while there are total 735 hospitals with Covid treatment facilities.