In statement, committee says event management will be help responsible for any episode that spreads the virus among public
The National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Wednesday night announced an “immediate” ban on large public gatherings, including political rallies and similar events, in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus nationwide.
According to a statement issued by the body tasked with coordinating the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has banned any outdoor gatherings that have more than 300 attendees. Further, read the statement, the management of any event would be responsible for ensuring standard operations procedures (SOPs) were implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including face masks and social distancing.
If, read the statement, any event results in a proven increase in new infections of COVID-19, the organizers of that event would be held responsible.
Similarly, the NCC banned all indoor weddings from Nov. 20, adding that outdoor events would still be permitted so long as their attendance did not exceed 300 people.
According to the NCC, it would review its decision to allow restaurants to remain open next week. It urged the public to eat outdoors if dining in, or avail takeaway. The statement stressed—in an echo of the speech given by Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this week—that there is a high risk of COVID transmission in enclosed settings, especially when people remove masks to eat food.
Meanwhile, the Federal Education Ministry has forwarded recommendations for educational institutions to be closed from Nov. 24 to Jan. 31, 2021 in light of the growing cases of COVID-19 nationwide. It said that primary schools should be closed from next week, while secondary schools could be kept open till Dec. 2. However, a final decision on this would be taken on Nov. 23 (Monday) during a review meeting of provincial and federal education ministers.
The NCC statement concluded by reiterating that local authorities should stringently enforce the use of face masks in all public spaces.
Despite the NCC warnings, the united opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement has vowed that it would continue its next scheduled anti-government rally in Peshawar on Nov. 22. In various conversations with media, representatives of opposition parties have alleged the government is “hiding” behind COVID-19.
Pakistan’s national positivity ratio on Thursday morning hit 6.9 percent after 2,547 new infections were reported from 36,899 tests. Health experts have warned the “second wave” is deadlier than the first and urged the public to exercise all SOPs to avoid overburdening health facilities.