Curbs hit higher positivity ratio cities again across Pakistan 

NCOC allows staggered attendance in primary section with three days on, 100% attendance in higher section of schools: Vaccination of students above 12 compulsory: Indoor wedding ceremonies banned: Congregations allowed with 10% attendeace: Public transport will run with 70% capacity: No change in business, office timings: Karachi positivity rate surges to 40.13%

By: News Desk
Published: 02:22 PM, 19 Jan, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: With no concern about the new wave of coronavirus pandemic, a volunteer (R) serves charity food to people in need along a street in Karachi.–AFP
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The National Command and Operation Centre has imposed the Covid curbs to be implemented from tomorrow (Jan 20-31) in view of the rising infectivity ratio across the country as the authority has decided to restrict the educational activities in cities having positivity ratio of above 10%, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The NCOC held its meeting on Wednesday under the chair of Planning Minister Asad Umar and co-chaired by National Coordinator Maj Gen ® Muhammad Zafar Iqbal. The meeting took a detailed review of the pandemic across the country and corresponding Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs). 

According to the NCOC decisions, in areas where the Covid-19 positivity ratio is higher than 10%, the respective administrations have been asked to restrict educational activities there. 

For students aged below 12, staggered system will be followed as 50% of students will attend the schools for three days. But for students aged above 12, educational institutes will remain open with 100% attendance. 

However, the NCOC will review the situation again on Jan 27. 

The other restrictions which have been imposed on over 10% positivity ratio cities are included: indoor gyms will remain open with 50% capacity; 50% attendance will be allowed in seminars, tombs and parks; complete ban on sports which entail physical contact; no change in business timing; public transport will ply with 70% capacity; and there will be no change in office hours. 

These restrictions will remain effective till Jan 31. 

The meeting has made vaccination of students over 12 compulsory. 

The authority has also banned indoor wedding ceremonies in cities having more than 10% positivity ratio. However, only 300 fully vaccinated guests are allowed in the outdoor wedding functions. 

Unlike other curbs, the restrictions related to the wedding ceremonies will remain in effect till Feb 15. 

The NCOC has outlawed all kinds of congregations in cities with more than 10% infectivity ratio. For the indoor congregations in which 300 people can participate, only 10% people will be allowed to attend the gathering. The same rule will be applied to the outdoor congregations. 

According to the decision of the anti-Covid authority, the dine-in is also banned in high positivity cities. 

The meeting has banned serving of food and drinks on domestic flights. Besides this, the mask mandate has returned at all public places and strict adherence to the SOPs in mosques and other worship places has been advised.  

Karachi in grip of dreaded coronavirus

Corona cases are surging rapidly across the country with Karachi having the highest positivity ratio of 40.13% while the infectivity has inched up over 10% in seven cities of the country, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday. 

According to the Sindh health department, as many as 7,232 corona tests were conducted in Karachi out of which 2,902 cases were positive during the past 24 hours bringing the infectivity ratio to alarming 40.13% in the city. 

Lahore, too, is witnessing a rising Covid-19 caseload as the positivity rate in the city hovers to 12.9%. The city has reported 759 new cases during last 24 hours. As many as 31 patients have been diagnosed with the fast spreading Omicron variant making the total number of Omicron infected people in the city to 500 which is raising alarm bells for the citizens.

According to reports, PML-N leader Malik Ahad has also been diagnosed with the Covid-19. 

The officers of district administration are also on the radar of the dreaded virus as after Additional Commissioner General Shahid Abbas Kathia, Shalimar Assistant Commissioner Syeda Tehniat Bukhari has also been infected with coronavirus

KSA declares 5-day quarantine mandatory for Umrah pilgrims 

On the other hand, seeing the Covid-19 surge all across the world, the Saudi government has declared a 5-day quarantine mandatory for all Umrah pilgrims. The Kingdom has directed all the airlines to not let passengers aboard the flights without the mandatory quarantine package. 

Reporters Saba Bajeer, Wajid Asfahani and Zahid Chaudhry