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Pakistan Issues SOPs for Aug. 14 and Muharram

by Newsweek Pakistan
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File photo of Planning Minister Asad Umar

Event-specific guidelines intended to prevent a resurgence of infections through large public events

The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Friday announced that it had devised specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) for events related to Pakistan’s Independence Day and the Islamic month of Muharram to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

During a meeting of the NCOC in Islamabad, the forum deliberated on the measures adopted to further ease lockdown restrictions as well as preparations for Aug. 14 and Muharram processions. The participants were informed that the government had devised a “complete” code of conduct to ensure social distancing, wearing of masks and compliance with SOPs during events with large numbers of people.

Chaired by Planning Minister Asad Umar, the meeting was told that the SOPs for Muharram processions required all organizers to secure permission from local administrators and to avoid narrow streets. Speakers at the rallies would also be required to wear masks and stay at least six feet from the majlis participants.

Similarly, the government has made it mandatory for participants of all Independence Day events to use sanitizers at entry points and wear masks.

On Thursday, Umar had announced that the government was reopening several sectors that had been restricted to curb the spread of COVID-19, including tourist destinations, dine-in services and restaurants, and gyms and public parks. However, he cautioned, the threat from the virus had not yet passed and urged the public to continue adopting SOPs to prevent a resurgence of the disease.

“The people of Pakistan have shown great patience and complied with the health guidelines. If the same spirit is followed through Muharram, it will help mitigate health challenges,” he said.

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