Kartarpur to welcome Sikh pilgrims next month

National positivity ratio dips to 5.73% amid high tally of active cases


Our Correspondent August 22, 2021
Sikh pilgrims arrive to take part in a religious ritual on the occasion of the 481st death anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur near the India-Pakistan border on September 22, 2020. AFP

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan allowed Sikh pilgrims on Saturday to visit the Kartarpur on the death anniversary of the founder of their religion, Baba Guru Nanak, as the single-day tally of fresh Covid cases showed sign of abetting slowly despite the number of active cases remained high.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which serves as the nerve centre of the government’s unified effort against the pandemic, said on Saturday that Sikh pilgrims could visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur amid strict Covid-induced safety protocols next month.

Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion died in Kartarput on September 22, 1539. In its meeting on Saturday, the NCOC discussed the movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims through Kartarpur corridor in connection with the death anniversary.

Amid a raging fourth wave of coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan kept India in the category-C countries from May 22 to 12 August 2021, which meant that the movement of people, including Sikh pilgrims, from the neighbouring country was subjected to special permission.

The Forum decided that only fully vaccinated persons would be allowed to enter Pakistan along with a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) taken 72 hours before the travel. Upon arrival, the pilgrims will also be subjected to rapid antigen test (RAT).

“No one will be allowed to come to Pakistan in case of RAT positive results,” the forum said, adding that as per the enforced non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) a maximum of 300 persons would be allowed to participate in the outdoor activities.

During the fourth wave, the country saw the single-day tally of Covid cases of more than 4,500. However, the figure has been declining in recent weeks, according to the daily update released by the NCOC. On Saturday, the NCOC reported the lowest national positivity ratio in a month.

During the last 24 hours, the NCOC said, 3,084 more people tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the national caseload of the disease since its outbreak in February 2020 to 1,116,886. The national positivity ration dipped to 5.73%.

The forum said 65 more people breathed their last during the last 24 hours, raising the nationwide death toll to 24,848. As of Saturday, according to the update, the number of active Covid cases was 89,673, the highest since May 2.

(WITH INPUT FROM APP)

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