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Govt to decide on additional COVID-19 measures tomorrow

A Radio Pakistan file photo of PM Imran Khan chairing a federal cabinet meeting. 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday summoned a National Coordination Committee meeting tomorrow to discuss the growing trend of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Sources told Geo News that the premier will be briefed by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on the coronavirus situation.

The development comes hours after Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said the government was deliberating over additional measures to contain the rising spread of coronavirus in the population.

Taking to Twitter, Umar said the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) discussed additional measures today to control the rising spread of COVID-19.

“Recommendations will be tabled in the NCC being called for tomorrow,” he continued. “Need to take immediate measures which have the most impact on disease spread without curtailing economic activity.”

COVID-19 resurge

Pakistan’s positivity rate surged past 4% on Sunday – the highest since August. The country recorded 1,123 new Covid-19 cases in a single day – highest in over three months. At least 12 people succumbed to the virus.

Increased restrictions

The federal authorities have issued multiple warnings in the past few days on the ignorance towards implementation of Covid-19 SOPs as a second wave hits the country.

Last week, NCOC issued fresh rules regarding the closure of wedding halls and shopping malls and made the wearing of face mask mandatory.

“NCOC has tightened restrictions on some high-risk public activities but the rising spread of the disease can only be controlled if people believe in the need for precautions,” said Umar. 

Wedding halls, restaurants ‘high contributors’

Early this month, NCOC said that it has observed wedding halls and indoor restaurants to be “high contributors” to the spread of the contagious disease.

Following the observation, on October 9, the body issued new guidelines for wedding halls, saying that it was officially restricting the number of guests and limiting functions till 10pm.

For indoor events, a maximum of 300 guests has been allowed and for outdoor events, a maximum of 500 guests, with the gathering to only last 2 hours.

The statement said that if wedding halls are found to be in violation of the SOPs then they will be closed off at a “specified time” and a heavy fine will also be imposed. It further said that the closure of SOPs-defying wedding halls will come into effect two weeks after the notices are served so people get “sufficient time” to search for alternate venues.

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