NCOC loosens restrictions from March 15

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All indoor dinning, weddings to resume; cricket fans allowed to go to stadiums; work from home restriction also eliminated

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: The National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday decided to loosen coronavirus restrictions that it earlier put in place after carefully reviewing the second phase of precautionary measures or the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs).

The NCOC added that the decisions could be reviewed again in view of the increased disease prevalence, whenever deemed necessary. According to a statement issued in this regard, provinces can, however, enforce targeted NPIs where required, depending upon disease prevalence in a given area or sector.

Following are some of the decisions taken by the NCOC.

• Time-limit lifted from commercial activities and amusement parks;

• Condition of 50% work from home removed for office employees;

• Indoor wedding ceremonies will be allowed from March 15, 2021, with stringent COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place;

• Indoor dining allowed from March 15, subject to a review on March 10;

• Opening of cinemas and shrines allowed with strict COVID-19 SOPs with effect from March 15;

• Wearing of face masks, social distancing, smart lockdowns will continue and will be ensured;

• From a health perspective, the conduct of local bodies and cantonment board elections may be planned by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by the end of May or early June 2021.

• Spectators’ attendance in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Pool matches to be increased to 50 % from the current 20%. Whereas, full attendance will be allowed for play-offs with stringent COVID-19 SOPs in place.