Pakistan bans indoor gatherings in areas with over 10% positivity of COVID-19 cases
Islamabad, Jan 19 (PTI) Pakistan banned indoor gatherings in areas with over 10 per cent positivity of COVID-19 cases as part of fresh measures to curb the spread of the virus after the country recorded more than 5,000 new cases for the second straight day on Wednesday.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced the various non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) after a senior-level meeting.
The new curbs were announced as Pakistan reported 5,472 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, which is the highest per-day cases since August 4 last year when 5,661 infections were recorded.
The positivity rate was recorded at 9.48 per cent, a gigantic jump from just 1 per cent at the start of this month.
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, the NCOC said in a statement.
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 per cent attendance with a three days per week schedule, whereas schools with students over 12 years of age will have 100 per cent attendance,” the NCOC said, adding that vaccination is mandatory for all students above 12 years.
Indoor gyms will be allowed to operate on 50 per cent capacity and cinemas, shrines, and parks will also be subject to 50 per cent occupancy.
“All types of contact sports will be banned. Public transport has also been instructed to continue its work with a capacity of 70 per cent,” the statement said.
The restrictions will remain in effect from January 20 to 31. However, a review meeting will be held on January 27 to further extend or lift the ban.
The statement said the ban on indoor dining will be effective from January 24.
However, indoor gatherings, including weddings, of up to 300 people will be allowed in cities where the positivity rate is less than 10 per cent, while outdoor gatherings with a maximum limit of 500 guests have been permitted.
Gyms, dine-ins and parks will be open for fully vaccinated individuals only.
The decision on changes in business and office hours was not made by the NCOC as of yet.
Pakistan has so far recorded 1,338,993 positive COVID-19 cases, along with 29,037 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.