NCOC Announces New Coronavirus Sops For Muharram Processions

In light of the beginning of the month of Muharram, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has announced the implementation of new standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure that the virus does not further spread in the processions and majalis held. 

On Tuesday, the NCOC issued a statement in which it directed organizers to make sure that there is compliance with coronavirus SOPs at these processions. These include the mandatory wearing of masks, maintaining social distance, as well as a thermal screening of those participants who are attending mass gatherings. 

Organizers were also directed to ensure that face masks and hand sanitizers are available at all times at the venues where the gatherings are to be held. People were further instructed to avoid hosting any majalis at their homes. The nerve center recommended that mass gatherings be held in ventilated and open spaces. Moreover, the NCOC granted permission to organizers to hire volunteers to help with the implementation of the new coronavirus SOPs. 

In the previous month, the NCOC had a special session to figure out arrangements to manage the processions held in the month of Muharram ul Haram. In this month, ulema belonging to different schools of thought, have agreed to observe this holy month with strict compliance with coronavirus SOPs. 

The meeting was chaired by Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony. Religious scholars, or Ulema, were called upon from Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Peshawar, as well as from other provinces. Those present in the province attended physically, whereas other joined via video link to talk about the arrangements. 

The participants of the forum were updated regarding the current situation of the deadly disease in the country, as well as the vaccination campaign. The NCOC stressed the need for strict adherence to SOPs during the processions and meetings related to Muharram. 

The members present in the meeting unanimously agreed that the month of Muharram would be observed by the people in the country with complete respect and devotion, under strict protocols of the coronavirus and SOPs. 

The management of all such religious gatherings was entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that the SOPs are strictly implemented during the administration of processions, gatherings, along with any other ceremonies. 

Meanwhile, Sajad Kiani, the DIG Operations Lahore stated that over 10,000 police officials and officers will be on duty to ensure the complete protection of the people participating in the mourning majalis and processions. These will include personnel from SSU, PRU, Dolphin Squad, and Anti-Riot Force, as well as 83 SHOs, 34 DSPs, and six SPs. 

According to Kiani, all operational and logistic arrangements have been made and surveys have been conducted of all the routes and Imam Bargahs. He further added that the directions of the government, with respect to preventative measures of the coronavirus, will be strictly implemented and enforcement teams will be brought on board to ensure compliance. He revealed that is all taking place in collaboration with majalis, Imam Bargahs, and peace committees.