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Pakistan Eases Restrictions Imposed to Curb Spread of Coronavirus

by Newsweek Pakistan

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NCOC announces indefinite ban on tourism, allows businesses to stay open till 8 p.m. following lockdown over Eid holidays

The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Sunday announced that a ban on tourism in Pakistan will continue indefinitely as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus even as it eased restrictions on businesses and transport services.

A day earlier, the NCOC—during a special session of the body tasked with managing the national response to the pandemic—reviewed the implementation of standard operating procedures during the government’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” campaign over Eidul Fitr from May 8-16. A subsequent statement said the forum had “expressed satisfaction on compliance” with SOPs during Eid holidays.

“Forum appreciated the efforts of all stakeholders especially the cooperation rendered by public across the country,” it said, adding that it had been decided to ease lockdown restrictions from Sunday (May 16).

According to the new guidelines, the following sectors will be allowed to operate with SOPs:

  • All inter-provincial, inter-city and intra-city public transport with 50 percent occupancy
  • Railways to continue operations with 70 percent occupancy
  • All markets and shops to be allowed to remain open from morning till 8 p.m. daily
  • Normal working hours for offices to resume from May 17, with 50 percent of staff to continue to work from home

The statement noted that the NCOC would review the impact of the ongoing restrictions on May 19 and either extend or reduce them in light of the ground situation. It also urged the public to continue adopting all SOPs to curb the spread of COVID-19, adding that all eligible age groups should register and get themselves vaccinated to help the country overcome the pandemic.

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