The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to increase restrictions of activities contributing to a sharp increase in the coronavirus positivity rate that has touched almost 9 per cent, said NCOC Chairman Asad Umar in a tweet after a key meeting of the forum.

According to Asad Umar, the provincial and ICT administration were also directed to tighten implementation of SOPs and crackdown on violations which are taking place.

In its key meeting, the session decided on policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding the acceleration in infection rates. It also reviewed decisions regarding educational institutions across the country. The NCOC has decided to impose “high-impact interventions” in cities that have a positivity rate greater than 8pc for more than three days.

However, the cities where the positivity rate is less than 8pc, already imposed restrictions will continued to be enforced.

Restrictions for Cities With Over 8pc Positivity Rate

The government will enforce “broader lockdowns with stringent enforcement protocols based on risk assessment”. It will allow no mobility except in the case of emergencies. Indoor dining will be banned; however, outdoor dining is to be permitted till 10:00 pm. Takeaways will be allowed though.

All commercial activities will close by 8pm. The government has also decided that two safe days per week will be observed: choice of days will be at the discretion of the provinces.

According to NCOC, outdoor gatherings, including weddings, will be allowed with an upper limit of 300 persons. Outdoor weddings will be two-hour long, however. All types of indoor gatherings will be banned, including cultural and religious events. Shrines will remain closed. The amusement parks will remain closed, except for walking and jogging.

The 50 per cent work-from-home policy will continue to be implemented at all public and private offices and courts. The intercity public transport will operate at 50pc capacity, while trains will be allowed to operate at 70pc capacity.

These high impact interventions will be implemented forthwith and will remain enforced till April 11. The review will be carried out at NCOC on April 7.

In the last 24 hours, 3,669 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Pakistan while 20 lost their lives, according to the latest statistics released by NCOC. Most casualties were seen in the province of Punjab followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

‘Punjab Marriage Halls May Close For Two Weeks’

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister’s Special Assistant on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that the provincial government may shut down wedding halls for two weeks. The sports activities in the province will also be banned for the same period, she added.

The special assistant said that the government will limit activities that will not affect the economy, adding that the government will take all measures to save lives. The coronavirus infections in Punjab, especially Lahore, are increasing at an alarming rate. In Lahore, the positivity rate has crossed 14 per cent, as several areas in the provincial capital remain under smart lockdown.

As of March 22, the total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan stand at 33,070. Yesterday, 43,498 tests were conducted with Sindh conducting 8,975; Punjab:17,298; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP):8,152; Islamabad (ICT):7,308; Balochistan:505; Gilgit-Baltistan (GB): 324 and Azad Kashmir (AJK):936.

Of the ventilators reserved for COVID-19 patients, 306 are occupied across Pakistan. No patients are on ventilators in Balochistan, AJK, and GB.

A total of 630,471 cases have been detected so far in the country with AJK reporting 11,704; Balochistan:19,342; GB:4,972; ICT:52086, KPK:80037; Punjab:199040 and Sindh:263290.

Till now, Pakistan has recorded 13,863 deaths. Punjab is on top of the list with 5,982 casualties followed by Sindh:4479; KP:2,215; Islamabad: 545; Balochistan: 203; GB: 103 and AJK: 336.

631 hospitals in Pakistan are equipped with COVID-19 facilities with 2,955 patients being treated across the country. A total of 9,817,491 tests have been conducted so far.


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