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pakistan
Tuesday Oct 13 2020
By
Web Desk

Coronavirus rules: Govt bars public gatherings in cities with 6-9% positivity ratio

By
Web Desk

Public gatherings should be preferably avoided and those that are held, their duration should not exceed for more than three hours, said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday, as it issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to tackle rising cases of the novel coronavirus.

The NCOC made it clear that the guidelines were not for wedding events or sports ones as separate SOPs had been issued for the former and for the latter, will be released soon.


                                    In a nutshell

  • Marriages have been excluded from this list of public gatherings
  • Children and elderly should be discouraged from public gatherings
  • Max number of participants: 500 persons or 50% of capacity, whichever is less
  • Duration of the event/activity should not exceed 3 hours
  • Organizers to be responsible for ensuring compliance of SOPs
  • No handshakes, no hugs. Wearing face masks is compulsory
  • All persons should be seated — no person should be allowed to stand
  • Govt bars public gatherings in cities with 6-9% positivity ratio

A shopping mall official checks a woman for coronavirus symptom, fever, during the Eid days. Photo: AFP

The NCOC defined a public gathering as an event "where people are assembled on any given space; indoor or outdoor, for some purpose such as cultural events, religious gatherings, sports events, entertainment/cultural events, parties, political gatherings or other similar events".

The following public gatherings will have to follow the newly issued guidelines and SOPs.

• Entertainment/Cultural Gatherings

• Public gatherings of Unions/Associations or any such group

• Religious gatherings

• Political gatherings

• Family gatherings

• Civil society group gatherings

• Sports related gatherings (SOPs to be issued separately)

• Marriage (being a frequent & obligatory activity) has been excluded from the list and a separate list of SOPs comprising strict restrictions has already been issued for it. 

SOPs for holding indoor and outdoor public gatherings

The NCOC said that public gatherings "should be discouraged in view of their potential to become super spreaders". It said that preferably no public gathering be held except those related to economic activity only. 

However, in case the holding of these public gatherings are 'unavoidable' the NCOC stated that then, these events must be held according to the guidelines stated below:

Indoor Events

• Maximum participation to be 500 persons or 50% of capacity whichever is less

• Duration of the event/activity should not exceed 3 hours

• All persons would be seated – no standing participation. Inter chair distance to be minimum of 3 feet or more

Outdoor Events

• Entry/Exit Controls should be in place

• Density Control measures should be taken

• Social Distancing should be practised by attendees

• All persons would be seated – no standing participation. Inter chair distance to be minimum 3 feet or more

• Duration of the event/activity should not exceed 3 hours

• Rallies/walks/gatherings on the roads, streets and other ill-defined places should be avoided

• Organizers to be responsible for ensuring compliance of SOPs particularly masks, social distancing and provision of COVID Safety Kit (a mask & a mini hand sanitizer) to each person

• No public gatherings to be held in cities where positivity ratio is consistently higher and is within 2nd Slab (6-9%) or above as laid down in instructions “Quantified Triggers & Corresponding NPIs” already issued

Children and elderly should be discouraged, no attendance without mask

The NCOC said that children and elderly should be discouraged to participate in public gatherings and no persons without masks will be should be allowed to attend.

Further guidelines are listed below:

• People with COVID or respiratory illness related symptoms must not be allowed to attend

• Individuals with comorbidities such as chronic illnesses including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease etc not be allowed to participate

• No handshake or hugging

Refreshments/meals

• No meals or light refreshment should be allowed in any type of gathering

• Drinking water facilities should be dispersed at multiple locations to avoid crowding

• Preferably water bottles be provided to the participants, otherwise disposable glasses to be used

•Anti COVID Awareness Board/Banners at the Venues to be displayed by organizers

•Periodic announcements for masks, social distance and other SOPs through Sound System during conduct of the event to be made by the organizers

Pakistan Medical Association warns of second coronavirus wave

A day earlier, the Pakistan Medical Association had warned that a second coronavirus wave could hit the country this winter.

The PMC warned authorities and the general public about the foreseeable second spike of coronavirus, saying that it is likely to start from educational institutions as it happened in US, India and Iran.

“Unfortunately, the government’s response so far is limited to the issuance of notifications of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), whose implementation is non-existent anywhere including schools,” said the PMA office-bearers while addressing a press conference.

They said that the winter has arrived and schools have opened, and any carelessness on part of the government and the public might trigger a second spike of coronavirus in the country.

“However, the situation on the ground is entirely opposite as no precautions were being observed in schools, which were opened in congested buildings,” they regretted.