ISLAMABAD    -  The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday issued new restrictions for major cities with high Covid-19 positivity under which indoor weddings will be banned starting November 20 while outdoor weddings will be allowed with a maximum of 1,000 people permitted to attend.

The new guidelines which will apply to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Peshawar, Quetta, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Abbottabad from today (Saturday) suggest that50 percent staff of all public and private offices will be asked to work from home. 

“Relatively broader” smart lockdowns will be imposed in hotspot areas, according to the NCOC. The cities where the restrictions will be applied are considered as higher disease spread potential areas. The restrictions are part of stage two of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Furthermore, a fine of Rs 100 will be imposed on those not wearing face masks at public places and they will be provided three masks on the spot, according to the NCOC decision. Also, the total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan on Friday were recorded 16,242 as 1,376 more people tested positive for the deadly virus during the last 24 hours.

Thirty corona patients, 28 of whom were under treatment in hospital and two out of hospital died on Thursday, according to the latest update issued by the National command and Operation Center (NCOC). 

No COVID affected person was on ventilator in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Balochistan, while 130 ventilators elsewhere in Pakistan, out of 1,870 allocated for COVID-19 patients, were occupied.

Some 35,745 tests were conducted across the country on Thursday, including 11,530 in Sindh, 14,109 in Punjab, 3,219 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 5,740 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 161 in Balochistan, 410 in GB, and 576 in AJK.

Around 317,086 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 outbreak, a total of 340,251 cases were detected so far, including AJK 4,572, Balochistan 16,033, GB 4,332, ICT 20,967, KP 40,148, Punjab 105,856 and Sindh 148,343.

About 6,923 deaths were recorded in country since the eruption of the contagion, including 2,664 Sindh among 15 of them died in hospital and two out of hospital on Thursday, 2,390 in Punjab five of them died in hospital on Thursday, 1,287 in KP three of them died in hospital on Thursday, 231 in ICT among two of them died in hospital on Thursday, 152 in Balochistan, 92 in GB and 107 in AJK among three of them died in hospital on Thursday.

A total of 4,609,513 corona tests have been conducted so far, while 735 hospitals are equipped with COVID facilities. Some 995 corona patients were admitted in hospitals across the country.