PESHAWAR: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday approved the reopening of schools in districts with less than a 5 percent coronavirus positivity ratio from May 24 with all coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) and protocols.

The meeting was chaired by the NCOC Chairman Asad Umar which reviewed the prevalent situation of the coronavirus in the country.

The main decisions of the NCOC include:

  • Educational institutes in districts with less than five percent positivity rate will be reopened from May 24.
  • Outdoor restaurants will be opened daily till 11:59pm while takeaway will be allowed 24/7 from May 24.
  • Tourism sector will be reopened under strict COVID-19 protocols from May 24.
  • Outdoor marriage ceremonies will be allowed with a maximum of 150 people from June 01.
  • Elective surgeries will be reopened from June 01.
  • Educational institutes in all districts will be reopened in a staggered manner from June 07.
  • All matric and intermediate exams will be held after June 20. All professional and non-professional exams will take place on a case-to-case basis as recommended by the Ministry of Education.

The NCOC also decided to keep in place some restrictions, which include:

  • Inter-provincial public transport will remain suspended on the weekends from May 22.
  • All shrines, cinemas, amusement parks and indoor gyms will remain closed. Tracks for walking and jogging will be allowed to remain open with strict adherence to SOPs.
  • Indoor dining will remain closed.
  • All contact sports, festivals, cultural, musical and other events will be banned.
  • All types of indoor and outdoor gatherings, including religious events will be banned.

The NCOC urged compliance on wearing facemasks and said broader lockdowns would be implemented with stringent enforcement protocols based on risk assessment. The forum said the current policies for inbound travel and Land Border Management would continue.

The NCOC also decided to reopen the Gadani and Misri Shah industries from May 20. The forum said a detailed review of the NPIs would be held on May 27 and June 07, adding that monitoring of disease prevalence and critical healthcare system was being carried out daily. It said necessary steps will be taken accordingly, whenever deemed appropriate to control the disease spread. The decisions were taken on the basis of the briefings provided by the provincial chief secretaries.