ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday issued fresh restrictions in a bid to control the rapidly increasing second wave of coronavirus infections across the country.
The NCOC has recommended limiting all public gatherings to 500 people, including cultural, political, religious, entertainment, and civil gatherings. The meeting, chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, was told that the virus increased three-folds since the NCOC recommended banning large public gatherings and outdoor activities on October 12 and November 3 to the National Coordination Committee (NCC) for its final decision.
“However, consensus by all stakeholders is awaited,” read a statement issued on Wednesday. The body has suggested notifying early and extending winter vacations to federal and provincial education departments, keeping in view the rising positivity rate in educational institutions. Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood will be chairing a special meeting with his provincial counterparts at the NCOC on November 16 to assess and review the positivity prevailing in educational institutions.
The forum has recommended allowing only outdoor dining till 10pm and closing cinemas and theatres immediately. Shrines will also be temporarily closed with immediate effect. Only outdoor weddings with a capacity of 500 people be will allowed from November 20. The NCOC also wants early closure of markets and safe days. “After consultative discussions, the recommendations would be shared with the provinces for consequent decision and enforcement,” said the NCOC in a statement. “The body has recommended urgent and emergency measures to the NCC for final approval after consensus by all stakeholders.”
Appreciating COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) compliance in mosques, the NCOC noted a “decline in compliance at present and appealed to all stakeholders to further follow the same rather enhance amid possible second wave”.
According to Geo News on Wednesday, a total of 1,708 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 348,184. With 21 new deaths, the country’s coronavirus death toll reached 7,021. So far, a total of 320,065 people have recovered from the virus while the active number of cases stands at 21,098.
With 31,989 tests conducted across Pakistan, the positivity rate has reached 5.3%.
COVID-19 infections are still rising in 63 countries. There have been at least 51,200,000 reported infections and 1,268,000 reported deaths caused by the new coronavirus so far. At least 33,488,712 have recovered from the virus.
Of every 100 infections last reported around the world, more than 17 were reported from countries in Asia and the Middle East. The region is reporting a million new infections about every 10 days and has reported more than 14,570,000 since the pandemic began.
With 115,367 new cases, United States reported the most infections in a day. France was second with 46,699 new infections while India reported 46,301 new cases, Italy 33,662 and United Kingdom 25,702.