Provincial governments direct offices to reduce staff presence by 50 percent, reiterate adherence to SOPs
Authorities in Sindh and Punjab provinces on Monday imposed new movement restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, confirmed cases of which have increased nationwide.
In a notification issued by the Sindh Home Department, the government announced it was banning indoor wedding ceremonies, adding that even outdoor events would have a limit of 200 people. It said all ceremonies must end by 9 p.m. and has imposed a ban on buffet services, urging all organizers to provide food in pre-packaged boxes.
The Sindh government has also ordered the closure of indoor gyms and other sports facilities, cinemas and theaters, and religious shrines. It has announced that all businesses—apart from essential services—would be required to stay shut every Friday and Sunday, while markets would be shut on Saturday and Sunday and have their operational hours set at 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The provincial government has also banned indoor dining in restaurants, and restricted outdoor dining till 10 p.m. Restaurants would be allowed to provide takeaway/delivery services.
Sindh has also directed all public and private offices to immediately implement a “work from home” policy for 50 percent of staff.
Sindh currently has a positivity ratio of 12.2 percent, with 15,440 active cases of the novel coronavirus. The government has expressed concern over the ongoing second wave of the virus, warning that if the public does not adopt SOPs, even harsher restrictions might need to be imposed.
In Punjab province, the government has directed all public and private offices to immediately implement a policy requiring 50 percent of staff to work from home. In a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, a notification issued by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department said that the restrictions would remain in place until Jan. 31, 2021.
The government is also considering reducing the operational hours of markets from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but has yet to issue a formal notification in this regard. Sources said the restriction was being seriously considered as there had been a visible failure of the public to adhere to SOPs in crowded markets.
Punjab currently has a positivity ratio of 4.01 percent, with 14,225 active cases of the coronavirus. On Nov. 21, Rawalpindi posted a positivity rate of 8.1 percent, the highest in the province.