The government of Sindh, on the advice of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), relaxed the Covid-19 restrictions put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus amid the fourth wave of the pandemic fuelled by the more contagious Delta variant of the virus.
A notification issued on Sunday by the provincial home department said that markets and business activities can continue till 8pm instead of 6pm.
It said that the ban on indoor dining would continue however, outdoor dining will be allowed under strict Covid-19 protocol till 10pm. "Take away and home delivery are allowed 24/7," it added.
Read more: Sindh announces to keep educational institutes closed till Aug 19
The provincial government banned indoor weddings with effect from Monday. However, it allowed outdoor weddings with a maximum of 300 guests under the strict implementation of Covid standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The notification said that the closure of shrines and cinemas would continue in the province whereas the ban on contact sports would also be maintained.
It said that the routine work would continue in public and private sector offices. However, attendance would be reduced from 100 per cent to 50 per cent.
It further said that all amusement parks, water sports and swimming pools will remain closed in the province. However, it added that public parks can remain open under strict Covid protocols.
On Saturday, the NCOC announced that the lockdown in the province would be lifted from Monday despite the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country particularly in Sindh.
In a joint session held in Karachi, it was also decided that non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) issued by the NCOC for the top 13 cities with high disease prevalence, including Karachi and Hyderabad, would be enforced.
Also read: Sindh lockdown to be lifted on 9th: NCOC
"The disease situation in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, was discussed at length. The need for better coordination and enhanced interaction at all levels was emphasised," a statement issued after the session read.
Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan and other officials attended yesterday’s session.
"Special emphasis was laid on the implementation of SOPs/NPIs, especially in the wake of Muharram and lifting of the lockdown from August 9 onwards. Smart Lockdowns in high disease prevalence areas will also be enforced to curtail disease spread," the statement added.
CM Murad told the participants of the meeting that the number of active Covid-19 cases was now on a downward trend in the province, particularly in the provincial capital of Karachi where the positivity ratio had decreased by 3% to 21%.
Also read: Private schools demand resumption of on-campus classes
Earlier today, the provincial government announced to keep educational institutions closed till August 19 in view of the Delta variant's surge.
The announcement was made by provincial education minister Sardar Ali Shah during a meeting of the department held in Karachi.
According to Shah, exams that had been postponed earlier will now be held from August 10. He added that the provincial authorities will ensure that educational and non-teaching staff are vaccinated.
(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)