The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) decided on Wednesday to slightly relax restrictions, put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 during the third wave of the virus in the country, from June 15 onwards.
The country's anti-Covid nerve centre also announced opening walk-in vaccinations for citizens aged 18 and above from June 11 (Friday).
The decisions were taken during a special session chaired by NCOC chief Asad Umar and co-chaired by National Coordinator Lt Gen Hamood uz Zaman Khan.
Taking a comprehensive review of the vaccination process and implementation of Covid SOPs (NPIs), the NCOC decided to relax the restriction on two-day a week closure of businesses to one day - the choice of day will be at the discretion of the federating units.
Moreover, indoor gyms were allowed to be partially opened "for vaccinated members only".
As per the NCOC's decision, conveyed following the meeting, only selective, non-contact sports will be permitted, while ban on contact sports -.Karate, Boxing, MMA,Rugby, Kabbadi, Wrestling and Waterpolo - as well as festivals and cultural and other events will remain in place.
The NCOC will also be relaxing the 50% work-from-home policy, allowing office to ensure 100% attendance.
Moreover, the two days weekly ban on inter-provincial transport will also be lifted, whereas
restrictions regarding 50% occupancy for public transport will be relaxed to 70% occupancy.
However, ban on closure of shrines will remain imposed, and cinemas will also remain closed.
Current Restrictions already announced by the NCOC regarding recreation, education sector, wearing of masks, railways and inbound passengers policy will remain in place till further orders.
Three-pronged vaccination strategy
Allowing walk-in vaccinations for citizens aged 18 and above from June 11 onwards, the NCOC stated that it will be running the country's mass vaccination campaign under a three-pronged strategy.
The strategy will be based on voluntary vaccination by all citizens, obligatory vaccinations for public and private sector employees and incentivised vaccinations.
With respect to obligatory vaccinations, the government stated that all public sector employees will have to get themselves vaccinated by June 30, 2021. As for incentivised vaccinations, the NCOC is considering introducing certain incentives for various sectors to encourage vaccinations.
Moreover, the NCOC has decided to keep all vaccination centres functional from 8am to 10pm daily from June 11 onwards. However, centres will remain open on Friday instead of Sunday.
The NCOC further informed that it is in the process of developing IT-based solutions for verification of vaccination certificates, which shall be completed by end of June.