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Monday Mar 15 2021

Sindh re-introduces COVID-19 restrictions — markets to close early, 50% work-from-home implemented

A health worker is collecting sample for COVID-19 test.
  • 2,253 new coronavirus cases have been reported in the last 24 hours across Pakistan, while 29 more have succumbed to the virus.
  • 50% of the staff in all public/private sector offices directed to work from home in Sindh as well.
  • All commercial/business enterprises — markets. shopping malls, marriage halls, etc — allowed to open from 06:00 to 22:00 hours. Essential services can operate around the clock

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Monday ordered the closure of all markets at 10pm and directed businesses to re-implement the 50% work-from-home policy (detailed notification below) amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the country. 

A notification to this effect was issued by the Sindh Home Department in the afternoon. Apart from the measures outlined above, the Sindh government also notified the closure of shrines, early closure of amusement parks and other stringent measures to contain the pandemic.

Pakistan is in the midst of a third wave of COVID-19 due to the UK variant, which is spreading rapidly across the country. The positivity ratio has remained above 5% during the past few days, raising concern among policymakers.

Read more: Punjab CM warns against complacency

According to fresh statistics, 2,253 new positive cases were reported in the last 24 hours while 29 more succumbed to the virus. The death toll has now reached 13,537 and there are now 22,038 active cases of the pandemic.

The Sindh government notification.

“In pursuance of the directions of NCOC (NCOC), Government of Pakistan and in review of this department’s order of even number dated 01 03 2021, Government of Sindh in exercise of the powers under Section 3 (1) of Sindh Epidemic Diseases Act 2014 (The Sindh Act VIII of 2015) is pleased to re-direct as under with immediate elect and till 15th April, 2021 unless changed or amended earlier,” the notification read.

Read more: Almost 100 Sindh police officers test positive for coronavirus in a week

New directives are as follows:

  • All commercial/business to have revised timings Markets. shopping malls, marriage halls, etc to open from 6:00am to 10:00pm (except essential services like medical stores. clinics, hospitals as well as petrol pumps, bakeries/milk shops, restaurants, etc).
  • Amusement Parks to be closed by 06:00pm.
  • Work from Home - 50% of the staff in all public/private sector offices told to return to work from home arrangements.
  • No indoor marriages/weddings - as per earlier decisions, only outdoor event/marriages allowed with an upper limit of 300 persons till 10:00pm under defined SOPs. Marquees told to operate only with defined modifications for proper ventilation. No buffet service is allowed.
  • Restaurants - as per earlier decisions, no indoor dining allowed. Only outdoor dining and takeaway/home delivery services to continue.
  • Closure of all indoor gatherings gathering places, indoor gyms to be closed. Indoor sports facilities, cinemas and theatres, shrines to also be closed.
  • Outdoor gatherings allowed only in an open space with a maximum limit of 300 individuals under strict Covid-19 SOPs.
  • Compulsory Mask wearing and social distancing at all government private offices and public places.
  • Smart lockdowns (SLDs) as necessary based on disease hotspots as deemed appropriate by respective Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners under the Sindh Epidemic Diseases Act, 2014.