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NCOC relaxes restrictions as surge in COVID cases drop

 ISLAMABAD: In view of the declining trend of Covid-19 cases prevailing in the country, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednes­day relaxed a number of restrictions on commercial activities and official work. 

According to a statement, the NCOC took a comprehensive review of the existing non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). 

Under the new directives, the time limit on commercial activities has been lifted and the condition of 50 per cent attendance at workplaces removed with immediate effect. Permission to hold indoor wedding ceremonies and opening of cinemas and shrines has been granted with effect from March 15. However, the decision to allow indoor dining will depend on the outcome of the review meeting to be held on March 10.  The Election Commission of Pakistan has also been allowed to hold local bodies and cantonment board elections by the end of May or early June. 

The NCOC also increased the number of spectators attending Pakistan Super League (PSL) pool matches to 50pc from the present 20pc and permitted full attendance during play-offs with stringent standard operating procedures. However, the statement said the decisions could be reviewed in case the infection rate rose again. The provinces, meanwhile, can enforce targeted NPIs were required depending on disease prevalence in a given area or sector. On the other hand, Pakistan saw another 1,196 people getting infected and 50 dying of Covid-19 in a single day. The worldwide cases, however, continued to fall for the sixth consecutive week. As many as 2.4 million new infections were reported globally which was an 11 per cent decline compared to the previous week. 

According to the NCOC data, out of the 50 deaths, 44 were reported in hospitals. A total of 241 ventilators were in use of Covid-19 patients across the country with the occupancy rate in Lahore being 37pc, Islamabad 33pc, Multan 27pc and Peshawar 21pc. Data of oxygenated beds showed that 61pc were occupied in Gujrat, 35pc in Peshawar, 25pc in Lahore and 23pc in Mirpur. The number of total active cases, which was over 50,000 in December, has dropped to 23,665 as of Feb 24. The data further said that so far 574,580 people had been detected having the virus in Pakistan out of whom 538,207 had recovered and 12,708 lost their lives. As many as 2,084 patients were under treatment across the country on Wednesday. According to a document available with Dawn, 5,055 healthcare workers have been vaccinated in Islamabad. 

The most number of healthcare workers — 1,739 — were inoculated in Rural Health Centre (RHC), Tarlai, 1,339 in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, 762 in CDA Hospital, 540 in Federal General Hospital, 431 in Polyclinic and 244 in RHC Bhara Kahu.  The World Health Organisation said in a statement that 2.4m people were infected globally last week — a decline of 11pc compared to the previous week. The number of deaths has also been experiencing a downward trend, with nearly 66,000 new casualties reported last week — a 20pc reduction compared to the previous week. “This brings the global cumulative numbers to 110.7m cases and over 2.4m deaths since the start of the pandemic,” it stated.

-Courtesy by Dawn

February 25, 2021

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