Centre bans indoor dining again as virus cases rise

ISLAMABAD – The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Wednesday banned all types of indoor gatherings, weddings and dining for cities and districts having over 10 percent Covid-19 positivity rate as part of its efforts to tackle the fifth wave of pandemic driven by Omicron variant. The forum decided to implement a number of fresh non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to tackle the virus after a ‘deliberate and consultative process’ with federating units, said a statement issued by NCOC. According to the data released by the NCOC, a positivity of rate of more than 10pc was recorded in seven cities over the past 24 hours. Among them, Karachi reported the highest positivity rate of 40.13pc, followed by 21.43pc in Muzaffarabad, 15.15pc in Lahore, 13.98pc in Hyderabad, 11.80pc in Islamabad, 10.68pc in Peshawar and 10.26pc in Rawalpindi.

The forum took a detailed review of current disease situation in the country and corresponding NPIs in a meeting, chaired by Minister for Planning Asad Umar and co-chaired by National Coordinator Major Gen Muhammad Zafar Iqbal.

The NPIs will remain in effect from January 20 to January 31 with review on 27 January at NCOC. However, the NPIs for wedding sector will remain effective till 15 February 22. The ban on indoor dining, gatherings and weddings will go into effect from January 24.

The indoor gatherings would be allowed up to 300 individuals, outdoor up to 500 for cities and districts with positivity up to 10 percent (pc).

The indoor gatherings would be banned for cities and districts with over 10 pc positivity while outdoor gatherings up to 300 would be allowed in these areas.

The indoor weddings are allowed up to 300 individuals, outdoor up to 500 for districts with positivity rate up to 10pc.

The indoor weddings would be banned and outdoor is allowed up to 300 for cities and districts with positivity rate more than 10pc.

The indoor and outdoor dining both allowed for districts with positivity rate up to 10pc.

The indoor dining would be banned and outdoor allowed for districts with positivity rate more than 10pc.

Educational activities will continue for those under and over 12 years of age in districts with positivity rate up to 10pc

The educational activities will continue with attendance at 50 pc capacity for those under 12 and 100pc attendance for those over 12 years of in districts with positivity rate more than 10 pc.

NCOC said that vaccination will be mandatory (at least one dose) for those over 12 from February 1. Aggressive testing to be carried out in institutes with high disease prevalence. The provinces and federating units in consultation with health authorities will decide limits for closure of educational institutions.

The activities for gyms, cinemas, shrines, amusement parks would be allowed for districts with positivity rate up to 10pc. The activities at such places would be allowed at 50 pc capacity for districts with positivity rate more than 10 pc.

All sports activities have been allowed for districts with positivity rate up to 10 pc. There will be ban on contact sports (karate, boxing, martial arts, rugby, water polo, wrestling and kabaddi) for districts with positivity rate more than 10 pc.

The NCOC decided that markets and business activities will continue without any restrictions and normal working hours with 100 pc employee attendance, provided that they are fully vaccinated. However, the work from home is encouraged.

NCOC has set occupancy in public transport at 70 pc and 80 pc in railways. The ban on serving of meals would remain effective for public transport and domestic air travel.

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