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NCOC Announces Staggered Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions

by Staff Report

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Schools to reopen in districts with positivity ratio below 5 percent; tourism and outdoor dining to resume from May 24

The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Wednesday announced a staggered easing of restrictions imposed over the past few weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including allowing educational institutions to reopen in districts with a positivity ratio below 5 percent, and the resumption of domestic tourism.

Following a meeting convened to review the results of non-pharmaceutical interventions, the forum issued a press release detailing the decisions taken to restore a semblance of normalcy to several sectors that have been shuttered as a result of the ongoing third wave of the pandemic.

  • Educational institutions reopen in districts with less than 5 percent positivity from May 24; staggered reopening of all educational institutions nationwide to commence from June 7
  • Outdoor dining to be allowed at restaurants daily till 11: 59 p.m., with takeaway and deliveries allowed 24/7 from May 24
  • Tourism spots to be reopened to public under strict adherence to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) from May 24
  • Outdoor wedding receptions, with a maximum of 150 people, to be allowed nationwide from June 1
  • Elective surgeries to be allowed to resume from June 1
  • Promotional exams for matriculation and intermediate studies to be scheduled after June 20, with all other exams to be decided on a case-by-case basis as recommended by the Ministry of Education.
  • Gadani and Misri Shah industries to reopen from May 20, with strict SOPs.

In addition, the NCOC reaffirmed several restrictions that would remain in place until further notice.

  • All shrines, cinemas, amusement parks and indoor gyms to remain closed; walking/jogging tracks to be allowed to remain open with strict adherence to SOPs.
  • Indoor dining to remain banned nationwide
  • Athletic events, cultural, musical and other festivals and events to remain banned.
  • All types of indoor and outdoor gatherings, including religious events, to remain banned.
  • Inter-provincial public transport to resume five days a week, but remain suspended every Saturday and Sunday from May 22.
  • Work-from-home to continue for 50 percent of staff at all offices

The current policies for inbound travel would continue until further notice, read the statement issued by the NCOC. It said the forum would conduct further reviews of existing interventions on May 27 and June 7. “Necessary steps will be taken accordingly, whenever deemed appropriate to control the disease spread,” it added.

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