Coronavirus Restrictions Tightened by the NCOC as Ramadan Begins

Due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country right at the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) announced that it will be broadening coronavirus restrictions across the country. This, the center stated, will help ensure strict enforcement and regulation of the standard operational procedures (SOPs). 

These decisions were taken in a special session of the NCOC, which was held on Tuesday. It was decided that stricter regulations will then be implemented from the 14th of April. The meeting was headed by Asad Umar, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms, and Special Initiatives. 

The final decision at the meeting dictated that no mobility will be permitted except in cases of extreme emergency. Moreover, businesses will not be allowed to operate on Saturdays and Sundays on a national level. Timings for markets will be from Sehr till 6pm. 

The NCOC further added that any and all kinds of gatherings, whether indoors or outdoors, will be banned. These included cultural, sports, political, miscellaneous, and social events. It further outlined that indoor dining will not resume and outdoor dining can take place from Iftar till midnight with a strict implementation and enforcement of SOPs. 

The forum went on to instruct that Taraweeh prayers should be organized in large open spaces so that people can stand as far away from each other as possible. The civil administration was provided directives to interact with community leaders and religious clerics for assistance, as well as the enforcement of coronavirus SOPs during the month of Ramzan. 

Cinemas and shrines will remain closed and a ban has been placed on festivals, cultural, sports, and other events. Amusement parks will not be allowed to operate either. However, jogging and walking tracks will be open to the public, granted that coronavirus guideline are followed down to a tee. 

Providing further insight into the decisions taken at the meeting, the NCOC informed that the working hours of all banks, public and private, will be from 10 in the morning to 4 in the evening from Monday through Thursday. Only on Fridays will banks be operational from 10 am to 1 pm. 

Furthermore, all government and private offices will be required to enforce a 50% work-from-home policy. Intercity transport is also going to be operating at 50% capacity. This restriction is set to be reviewed on the 20th of April.