A policeman (R) stands along a paramilitary soldier at a security check point on a street as a lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of the Covid-19 in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

NCOC extends anti-Covid curbs to 27 cities

Decision taken as several cities record double-digit positivity rates

Our Correspondent August 29, 2021

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) extended the anti-Covid restrictions to 27 cities across Pakistan in order to stem the ongoing fourth wave of the pandemic, fuelled by the Indian-origin Delta variant of coronavirus, said a statement issued here on Sunday.

The NCOC – a high-level forum spearheading national efforts against coronavirus, said that the decision to extend scope of the standard operation procedures (SOPs) from 13 to 27 cities was taken after positivity ratio spiked to double digit, straining the local health care system.

The 27 cities, where the new SOPs would be implemented till 13th of the next month, include Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) besides Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Multan, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab province.

Other cities are Hyderabad and Karachi in Sindh; Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir; Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan; Peshawar, Swat, Haripur, Mansehra, Lower Dir, Swabi, Abbottabad, Swat and Chitral Lower in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Under the Covid-19 SOPs, all commercial activities except essential services will be closed by 8pm, while all the markets would be closed for two days a week, the decision to determine the off days had been left be at the discretion of the respective provinces.

Also, restrictions on indoor dining in restaurants would be maintained, while outdoor dining would be allowed till 10:00 pm. However, the takeaway service would be allowed 24 hours a day, according to the statement.

The country is in the grip of the fourth wave of coronavirus, which has seen a spike in recent weeks, with the single-day tally continue to hover above 4,000. However, after four consecutive days, the daily tally came down below that level.

Read NCOC bans train travel for unvaccinated citizens from Oct 1

On Sunday, the NCOC said in its daily update that the national tally of active Covid-19 cases rose to 93,504, one of the highest during fourth wave of pandemic, as 3,909 more people tested positive for the virus while 3,443 people recovered from the infectious disease during the last 24 hours.

Among the active cases, it said, 6,173 patients were admitted to various Covid-dedicated health facilities across the country, 5,639 Covid infected patients in critical condition. The forum added that 43 patients were hospitalised during the last 24 hours, while 517 were on ventilators.

The update said that 69 patients, of them 62 in hospitals, including 31 on ventilators, died during the past 24 hours, raising the nationwide death toll to 25,604. Most of the deaths on Saturday, 40, occurred in Punjab, followed by 18 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).


As of Sunday, the national caseload of the disease stood at 1,152,481, including 1,033,373 making full recovery, depicting a significant recovery ratio of more than 90%. The National Covid positivity ratio during past 24 hours was 6.21%, the NCOC said.



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