–Interior Ministry issues notification stating 20-point SOPs for congregational prayers will remain in place
ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to the provinces for the last 10 days of Ramzan and it also imposed a ban on processions on account of Youm-e-Ali which is observed by Muslims on 21st of the holy month to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS).
The Interior Ministry issued a notification to all provinces for the last 10 days of the holy month and the Eidul Fitr holidays with regards to post May 9 lockdown strategy devised by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
According to the notification, 20-point SOPs for Taraweeh prayers will remain in place for the last 10 days of Ramzan and for Eid prayers. It also barred all religious processions in connection with Youm-e-Ali and the last 10 days of Ramzan across the country.
The notification also stated that all provinces would ensure implementation of these SOPs and guidelines about social distancing and other preventive measures would also be followed.
Earlier in the day, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar said that following the ease in the lockdown, it is now the public’s responsibility to comply with all the SOPs and take care of the health of their family, society and community at large.
Addressing the meeting of the NCOC, Umar said that individual responsibility was the only way to ensure protection against the coronavirus and collective health of the people.
Umar’s observations came after the provincial chief secretaries apprised the forum that the markets were heavily crowded, particularly with Eidul Fitr coming up. The officials put forth their difficulties in enforcing the SOPs and guidelines set in place by the federation and the provinces.
“The lockdown has been eased to facilitate the masses,” Umar said, adding that the threat of the pandemic persists and anti-Covid-19 directives and SOPs have been sent to all provinces.
The federal minister insisted that the implementation of the SOPs needed to be ensured, adding that public awareness drives were also being broadcast on the radio and television channels, as well as on all digital forums.
According to Umar, the public is fully aware of the comprehensive SOPs devised for every industry, including the construction industry and all factories and markets.
He directed the provinces to ensure the implementation of SOPs, giving provincial chief secretaries three to four days. He also urged the provinces and the public to play their due roles and ensure the health and safety of the people and contain the spread of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Pakistan chapter published a report, revealing an upward trajectory in local transmissions of the virus, as the country recorded 2,255 cases over the past 24 hours.
According to the report, Balochistan had the highest rate of local transmission at 93 per cent, whereas only 7 per cent were imported cases.
Sindh closely followed Balochistan with 92 per cent local transmission and 8 per cent imported cases.
In Punjab, 85 per cent cases were a result of local transmission while 15 per cent were foreign cases.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 84 per cent cases were locally transmitted while 16 per cent were foreign cases.
Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir had 63 per cent and 83 per cent rate of local transmission, respectively, whereas the former had 37 per cent imported cases while the latter had 17 per cent foreign cases.
The report also revealed a downward trajectory in Pakistan’s testing capacity after peaking at an estimated 13,000 on May 9. On subsequent two days, the tests decreased and fluctuated between 10,000 and 11,0000.
The report also revealed that as the testing capacity decreased, the number of new cases also reduced. On May 9, 1,991 new cases were reported, whereas on May 11, 1,140 new cases emerged.