ISLAMABAD: In view of the increase in coronavirus cases during the country’s second wave of viral disease, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) released new guidelines on Friday banning indoor weddings, fixing Rs100 as fine for not wearing a mask, and allowing 50 percent of public and private institutional workers to “act from home.”
A senior mask NCOC official told Dawn that, under their own modus operandi, the provinces had been ordered to enforce the new guidelines.
At a meeting of the NCOC attended by members of the Centre and the provinces, the decision was made.
Under the new laws, from Saturday (today) the wearing of mask and ‘work from home’ policy has been made obligatory across the country, while the prohibition on indoor marriages will be enforced from November 20.
The NCOC noted that the “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (NPIs) or new guidelines will remain in effect until January 2021 because 16 major cities in the country were highly vulnerable these days due to Covoid-19 positivity among the population.
Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gilgit, Muzzafarabad, Mirpur, Peshawar, Quetta, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Abbottabad are the cities with high positive and higher disease transmission capacity.
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The NCOC official said a mask-wearing compliance model was being introduced in which three masks will be issued on the spot to those fined Rs100 for not wearing masks. It’s not really fine; the cash to be paid as fine will be used to procure the violator’s mask so that he/she will wear the mask on the spot, “he said.”
With regard to the ban on indoor marriages, the official said that only outdoor marriages with an upper limit of 1000 individuals will be permitted. “The ban will be implemented with effect from Nov 20, so that weddings will take place at indoor venues already scheduled,” he said.
He said that since the offices could only hold 50pc workers, 50pc of the employees in both public and private offices would be able to operate from their homes.
In the meantime, the provinces were asked to follow the smart lockdown strategy focused on hotspot areas (where Covod-19 cases will be reported).
Collectively, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir have recorded 366 cases of coronavirus and five deaths over the last 24 hours. There were 273 cases and two deaths in Islamabad, 12 cases in Gilgit-Baltistan, and 81 cases and three deaths in AJK.
Similarly, over the last 24 hours, Punjab registered 321 cases with five deaths. The tally of incidents in the province has increased to 105,856 and deaths to 2,390.
In Sindh, 556 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed on Thursday, the largest daily rise in infections since 29 July, when 654 cases were reported in the province. Their tally of cases currently stands at 148,343. During the past 24 hours, the province also reported 17 deaths, a three-month high.
July 30 was the last time Sindh had more casualties. The toll of provincial deaths has jumped to 2,664.
Published in Dharti News, November 7th, 2020