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ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Tuesday while issuing guidelines in connection with Eidul Fitr prayers and other related activities, asked elderly and teenagers below 15 years to refrain from attending Eidul Fitr prayers in a bid to support the government’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The NCOC session was held here under the chairmanship of Asad Umar, which was also attended by the Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan via video link to discuss and review of mobility control measures being implemented across the country from May 8-16.

“In the wake of ongoing restrictions imposed till May 16, 2021, [the] forum urged for greater national resolve by adhering to SOPs to reduce the spread of the pandemic,” the statement from the NCOC said. The forum urged the nation to stand united and firm to support these steps undertaken for the well-being of the Pakistani people.

Following guidelines have been issued to contain the spread of Covid-19 in connection with Eidul Fitr activities: (i) Eid prayers should be organised in open spaces with Covid protocols.

(ii) If there is a compulsion to offer prayers in the mosque, windows and doors should be kept open for ventilation. (iii) Eid prayers should take place in 2-3 shifts at one venue with staggered timings to minimize attendance.

(iv) Efforts should be made to keep the sermon (khutba) very brief in order to reduce exposure.

(v) Discourage sick, elderly, and children less than 15 years of age from attending prayers.

(vi) Mandatory wearing of face mask.

(vii) Multiple entry and exit points at prayer venue to avoid rush of individuals. (viii) Thermal screening at entry points. (ix) Availability and use of hand sanitizers at entrances and exits.

(x) Six-feet social distancing markings at the venue.

(xi) Worshippers should bring their own prayer mats.

(xii) Encourage people to perform wudhu/ablution at home.

(xiii) Discourage socializing or embracing and hand shakes at the venue after prayers.

(xiv) No gathering before and after prayer. (xv) Banners highlighting Covid-19 protocols should be displayed at prominent places at the venue as part of the awareness campaign.

(xvi) Well laid out parking areas should be prepared for crowd management.

Meanwhile, according to the latest Covid-19 figures issued by the NCOC, Pakistan in the past 24 hours recorded 3,447 Covid-19 cases and 113 Covid-19 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, a total of 38,883 nationwide tests were conducted of which 16,594 in Punjab, 12,743 in Sindh, 5,326 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 2,515 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 1,098 in Balochistan, 322 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and 285 in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

The active caseload was recorded at 78,959; while 4,387 people recovered from the Covid-19 taking the national tally of recoveries to 766,492, since the pandemic erupted in February 2020. According to the NCOC, the national coronavirus positivity rate over the past 24 hours was recorded at 7.93 percent.

The Punjab and KP remained most affected areas of Covid-19 as out of 133 deaths, Punjab reported 67 deaths and KP 29 deaths. Out of 113 deaths, 49 died on ventilators during treatment.

Multan with 70 percent ventilator occupancy rate was on the top with the maximum ventilators occupied among the four major areas followed by Lahore with 64 percent, Gujranwala 59 percent, and Peshawar 40 percent.

Multan was also on top with 64 percent Oxygen beds occupied among the four major areas followed by Gujranwala with 54 percent, Swabi 52 percent, and Peshawar 52.

Around 607 ventilators were occupied, elsewhere in the country, while no Covid-affected person was on ventilator in the AJK, G-B, and Balochistan.

Out of 864,557 cases detected so far, Punjab with 320,851 cases was on top followed by Sindh with 293,426 cases, KPK with 124,979 cases, the ICT with 78,382 cases, Balochistan with 23,534 cases, the AJK with 17,984 cases, and G-B with 5,401 cases.

Out of 19,106 deaths recorded in the country since the pandemic outbreak, Punjab with 9,125 deaths is on top followed by Sindh with 4,753 deaths of which 11 were reported in the past 24 hours, KPK with 3,644 deaths of which 29 were reported on Monday, the ICT with 716 deaths of which one was reported on Monday, the AJK with 508 deaths, Balochistan with 253 deaths of which five reported on Monday, and G-B with 107 deaths.

A total of 12,267,310 corona tests have been conducted so far, while 639 hospitals are equipped with Covid facilities. Some 5,353 Covid-19 patients were admitted in hospitals across the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021