PESHAWAR: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the main decision-making body about the coronavirus situation in Pakistan, Tuesday announced that schools in five districts of Punjab and one district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will reopen from September 16.

The NCOC Chairman Asad Umar announced at a media briefing that the NCOC had earlier placed strict restrictions on 24 districts throughout the country. Out of these, strict restrictions will only be imposed in six districts while the rest have been allowed relaxation.

Asad Umar said the six districts where strict restrictions will continue to remain include Bannu, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujrat and Sargodha.

The minister said inter-city transport was earlier banned altogether from these districts. Now, buses can resume inter-city transport by accommodating 50 percent capacity of passengers. Similarly, he said schools in these six districts will resume on-campus classes from September 16, with 50% attendance in classes. He said that outdoor dining in these districts was allowed to remain open till 10pm.

Asad Umar said that outdoor gathering of 400 people is being allowed. He urged the people to get themselves vaccinated against the disease. He said those not getting the vaccine jab will have to face restrictions such as on their air travel and visit to different places such shopping malls, guest houses, hotels from 30th September.

The NCOC chief said amusement parks, recreational spots and parks will remain open. Only vaccinated persons will be allowed to visit amusement parks, he clarified. He said indoor gatherings will continue to remain banned.

He said COVID-19 restrictions imposed in districts other than these six will continue to remain in force till September 30. He said the fourth wave of coronavirus is decreasing in intensity as time passes. He said it is vital that we see an increase in the vaccination process. He said the government had set huge targets in Pakistan’s large cities, to vaccinate fully 40 percent of Pakistan’s population of 15 years and above.

Asad Umar said the only way to get rid of these restrictions is to get vaccinated. However, he ruled out the government imposing any restrictions on businesses in the near future.



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