Unbridled corona brings curbs again

Muhammad Anis & M Waqar Bhatti
Thursday, Jan 20, 2022

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Amid rising cases of COVID-19, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday decided to continue the academic activities in the educational sector, business activities and public transport with stringent protocols.

The NCOC meeting chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and co-chaired by National Coordinator Major General Muhammad Zafar Iqbal announced separate conditions for various sectors having positivity ratio above and up to 10 percent.

It was also announced to implement decisions from January 20 to 31 while there would be a review of COVID-19 situation on January 27. In cities and districts with positivity ratio up to 10 percent, it was decided to keep schools open for students under 12 years of age while only fully vaccinated students of above 12 years would be allowed to attend classes. From February 01, the students of under 12 years with at least one vaccination would be allowed to attend classes.

However, aggressive sentinel testing in educational institutions will be carried out for targeted closure in high prevalence educational institutes.

In cities and districts with positivity ratio above 10 percent, the students under 12 years would attend classes with 50 percent attendance on staggering days while 100 percent attendance of students of above 12 years is allowed. As far weddings and gatherings in cities and districts with up to 10 percent ratio are concerned, the NCOC allowed indoor events with 300 fully vaccinated guests and maximum 500 fully vaccinated guests for outdoor arrangements.

However, the NCOC imposed ban on indoor weddings in cities and districts with positivity ratio above 10 percent while maximum 300 fully vaccinated guests would be allowed for outdoor events. There will be ban on all contact sports like karate, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, water polo etc.

The NCOC also allowed to open indoor gyms, cinemas, shrines, amusement parks and indoor and outdoor dining for fully vaccinated people in areas having ratio up to 10 percent. All sports have also been allowed for fully vaccinated individuals.

Business activities will continue without restrictions on timings while meal and beverages would not be allowed during inflight domestic travel.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin tested positive for corona.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases and case positivity is constantly on the rise in Sindh, especially Karachi where 40.13 percent case positivity was recorded while 3,648 more cases were detected in the province when 16,735 tests were conducted during last 24 hours, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said in his daily COVID-19 situation report.

“One more person died due to complications of COVID-19 in Sindh while 3,648 people were tested positive when 16,735 tests were conducted in last 24 hours”, Murad Ali Shah said, adding that death toll reached 7,710 in the province with one death due to COVID-19’s complications.

Of the 3,648 COVID-19 cases detected in the province, 3,081 cases were from Karachi, the minister said and warned that positivity of the cases could rise further with vulnerable people landing at hospitals if people failed to follow SOPs.

Sharing Omicron variant data, the chief minister during the last few days, 28 Whole Genome and Next Generation Sequencing were carried out, of which 26 new cases lifting the number of Omicron variant cases detected in the province so far to 500.

The CM maintained that so far 7,402,684 tests have been conducted against which 511,124 cases were diagnosed, of them 92.5 percent or 473,008 patients have recovered, including 269 overnight.

He said currently 30,406 patients were under treatment, of them 30,022 were in home isolation, 32 at isolation centers and 352 at different hospitals and added that the condition of 300 patients was stated to be critical, including 22 shifted to ventilators.

According to him, out of 3,648 new cases, 3,081 have been detected from Karachi, including 1,147 from East, 840 South, 484 Central, 339 Malir, 166 West and 105 Korangi. While in other districts Hyderabad has 242, Jamshoro 23, Badin and Tando Muhammad Khan 19 each, Thatta 16, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sujawal and Tharparkar 15 each, Matiari 14, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar 13 each, NausheroFeroze, Dadu and Sukkur 12 each, Larkana and Ghotki 10 each, Shikarpur, Tando Allahyar and Umerkot eight each, Jacobabad seven, Kashmore two and Qamber and Khairpur one each. Vaccination:

Sharing vaccination data the CM said that 32,260,393 vaccine doses have been administered upto January 17th and added during the last 24 hours 202,001 people were inoculated - in total 32,462,394 vaccines have administered which constituted 58.61 percent of the vaccine eligible population.

The chief minister urged people of the province to follow SOPs.


The home department after getting instructions from the government of Sindh has issued a new lockdown order after witnessing a little surge in COVID cases in the province of Sindh. The order will remain into effect till January-31, 2022.

The lockdown order issued by the home department Sindh reads, “the NCOC vide their letter dated January-19, 2022 has communicated that amid rising trend of disease across the country, detailed discussion of disease situation and currently enforced NPIs, the criteria is to be followed for NPIs enforcement based on the positivity rate i.e. for the cities and districts having positivity rate up to 10 percent and the cities and districts having positivity rate above 10 percent.

Karachi and Hyderabad are the cities having positivity rate above 10 percent. Accordingly, the home department, government of Sindh in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 3(1) of the Sindh Epidemic Diseases Act, 2014 (The Sindh Act VIII of 2015) is pleased to issue the following order for enforcement within the territorial jurisdiction of the province of Sindh.