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Omicron variant: Sindh announces new Covid restrictions

Markets to stay open till 10pm

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 30, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Nov 30, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Photo: Online

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The Sindh government has issued new directives to curb the spread of coronavirus in the province amid the Omicron variant outbreak in South Africa and several other countries. The provincial government imposed fresh restrictions in the province with instructions to “speed up” the vaccination drive. The government intensified restrictions for 'C' category districts over slow pace of vaccination and fear of a surge in infections. The new restrictions imposed under the “Viral Diseases Act” will remain effective till December 15, it added. Here are the SOPs approved by Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah: Business timings: Markets and business activities to stay open till 10pm. Essential services — pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centres, petrol pumps, CNG stations, and others exempted from the new orders. Gatherings: Indoor and outdoor gatherings only allowed for vaccinated persons with the following limit Less than 500 people for indoor gatherings Less than 1,000 people allowed at outdoor gatherings in Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar In other cities, 300 and 1,000 people will be allowed in indoor and outdoor, respectively. Education sector: All education institutes will remain open with 100% attendance. A campaign to vaccinate students above 12 years of age will be run at schools, colleges and universities. Office: Routine office timings will be followed and 100% attendance is permitted. It is mandatory for employees to be fully vaccinated. Dining: Indoor dining allowed for fully vaccinated individuals till 11:59pm with 70% capacity in Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar. 50% in the other cities and divisions. Outdoor dining allowed for fully vaccinated individuals throughout the province till 11:59pm. Takeaway and drive-through services allowed 24/7 following the COVID-19 SOPs. Recreation: Amusement parks, water sports, and swimming pools in Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar can function at 70% occupancy, while 50% capacity in the remaining cities. However, public parks will remain open under COVID-19 protocols. Shrines: Shrines will remain open for the fully vaccinated individuals only Public transport: Public transport can operate with 80% occupancy Cinemas: Cinemas remain functional for fully vaccinated individuals and can operate without time restrictions. Railways: Railways to function with 80% occupancy Extended lockdowns: District administrations may impose broader lockdowns in areas under their jurisdiction. They can also smart and micro smart lockdowns in specified areas. 'Omicron is going to come' The NCOC chief Asad Umer has said that it is inevitable that the COVID-19's Omicron variant will hit Pakistan because it is impossible to stop viruses from spreading in this world.  He said that the NCOC is taking steps to delay the arrival and minimize the impact of the new variant.  “We are ramping up the number of coronavirus tests. We will conduct testing in the high-risk areas," said Umer.  Pakistan bans inbound travel The reports of rapidly mutated Covid variant Omicron have caused alarm in Pakistan and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has announced a ban on inbound travel from South Africa, five other African countries, and Hong Kong. According to the notification, a complete ban has been imposed, with immediate effect, on inbound travel from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana and Hong Kong. ‘Urgent to vaccinate’ Earlier, the NCOC chief and Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umer stressed on all eligible citizens to get “vaccinated urgently”. “Based on the emergence of the new Covid variant, notification has been issued [to] restrict travel from six South African countries and Hong Kong,” he tweeted. According to data shared by NCOC, Pakistan has administered over 120 million Covid jabs since the vaccination drive began in February this year. At least 80 million people have received the first jab while 49,010,906 citizens have been fully vaccinated. ‘Highly transmissible variant’ The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s advisory panel has classified the new variant as “highly transmissible”. Omicron has been put into the most troubling category of coronavirus variants after Delta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Several countries rushed to ban flights to slow the spread of Omicron. The stock markets and oil prices plunged on fears surrounding the variant, potentially dealing a heavy blow to the global economic recovery. Follow SAMAA English on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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The Sindh government has issued new directives to curb the spread of coronavirus in the province amid the Omicron variant outbreak in South Africa and several other countries.

The provincial government imposed fresh restrictions in the province with instructions to “speed up” the vaccination drive.

The government intensified restrictions for ‘C’ category districts over slow pace of vaccination and fear of a surge in infections.

The new restrictions imposed under the “Viral Diseases Act” will remain effective till December 15, it added.

Here are the SOPs approved by Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah:

Business timings:

Markets and business activities to stay open till 10pm.

Essential services — pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centres, petrol pumps, CNG stations, and others exempted from the new orders.

Gatherings:

Indoor and outdoor gatherings only allowed for vaccinated persons with the following limit

Less than 500 people for indoor gatherings

Less than 1,000 people allowed at outdoor gatherings in Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar

In other cities, 300 and 1,000 people will be allowed in indoor and outdoor, respectively.

Education sector:

All education institutes will remain open with 100% attendance. A campaign to vaccinate students above 12 years of age will be run at schools, colleges and universities.

Office:

Routine office timings will be followed and 100% attendance is permitted. It is mandatory for employees to be fully vaccinated.

Dining:

Indoor dining allowed for fully vaccinated individuals till 11:59pm with 70% capacity in Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar. 50% in the other cities and divisions.

Outdoor dining allowed for fully vaccinated individuals throughout the province till 11:59pm.

Takeaway and drive-through services allowed 24/7 following the COVID-19 SOPs.

Recreation:

Amusement parks, water sports, and swimming pools in Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar can function at 70% occupancy, while 50% capacity in the remaining cities.

However, public parks will remain open under COVID-19 protocols.

Shrines:

Shrines will remain open for the fully vaccinated individuals only

Public transport:

Public transport can operate with 80% occupancy

Cinemas:

Cinemas remain functional for fully vaccinated individuals and can operate without time restrictions.

Railways:

Railways to function with 80% occupancy

Extended lockdowns:

District administrations may impose broader lockdowns in areas under their jurisdiction. They can also smart and micro smart lockdowns in specified areas.

‘Omicron is going to come’

The NCOC chief Asad Umer has said that it is inevitable that the COVID-19’s Omicron variant will hit Pakistan because it is impossible to stop viruses from spreading in this world. 

He said that the NCOC is taking steps to delay the arrival and minimize the impact of the new variant. 

“We are ramping up the number of coronavirus tests. We will conduct testing in the high-risk areas,” said Umer. 

Pakistan bans inbound travel

The reports of rapidly mutated Covid variant Omicron have caused alarm in Pakistan and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has announced a ban on inbound travel from South Africa, five other African countries, and Hong Kong.

According to the notification, a complete ban has been imposed, with immediate effect, on inbound travel from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana and Hong Kong.

‘Urgent to vaccinate’

Earlier, the NCOC chief and Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umer stressed on all eligible citizens to get “vaccinated urgently”.

“Based on the emergence of the new Covid variant, notification has been issued [to] restrict travel from six South African countries and Hong Kong,” he tweeted.

According to data shared by NCOC, Pakistan has administered over 120 million Covid jabs since the vaccination drive began in February this year.

At least 80 million people have received the first jab while 49,010,906 citizens have been fully vaccinated.

‘Highly transmissible variant’

The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s advisory panel has classified the new variant as “highly transmissible”.

Omicron has been put into the most troubling category of coronavirus variants after Delta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

Several countries rushed to ban flights to slow the spread of Omicron. The stock markets and oil prices plunged on fears surrounding the variant, potentially dealing a heavy blow to the global economic recovery.

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