ISLAMABAD: In view of a surge in coronavirus cases during the second wave of the viral disease in the country, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) recently issued new guidelines banning indoor marriages, fixing Rs100 as fine for not wearing the mask and allowing ‘work from home’ for 50 per cent staff of public and private institutions.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the NCOC attended by representatives of the Centre and the provinces.
Under the new guidelines, wearing of mask and ‘work from home’ policy has been made compulsory throughout the country from Nov 7, while the ban on indoor marriages will be enforced from Nov 20.
The NCOC observed that since 16 major cities of the country were highly sensitive these days due to COVID-19 positivity among the people, the ‘Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions’ (NPIs) or new guidelines would remain in force till January.
The cities with high positivity and higher disease spread potential are Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gilgit, Muzzafarabad, Mirpur, Peshawar, Quetta, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Abbottabad.
The NCOC official said a model for enforcement of mask-wearing was being implemented under which that fined Rs 100 for not wearing a mask would be given three masks on the spot. “In fact, it is not fine; the money to be received as fine will be utilised to buy a mask for the violator so that he/she can wear a mask at the spot,” he added.
About the ban on indoor marriages, the official said only outdoor marriages would be allowed with an upper limit of 1,000 persons.
“The ban will be enforced with effect from Nov 20 so that already arranged marriages at indoor venues can take place,” he added. He said that 50pc of the staff in all public and private offices would be allowed to work from their homes as the offices could only accommodate 50pc staff.
The provinces have been asked to follow the policy of smart lockdowns based on hotspot areas (where cases of COVID-19 will be reported).
Meanwhile, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Ali Shallwani directed the administration to take strict action against the people not wearing a mask in public places. Official sources said a fine of Rs 500 would be imposed for violating the notified SOPs, including wearing of mask COVID-19 cases Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir collectively reported 366 coronavirus cases and five deaths during the last 24 hours.
Similarly, Punjab reported 321 cases with five deaths during the last 24 hours.