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The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) issued special instructions on Tuesday for managing activities during the holy month of Muharram under the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) to contain the pandemic.

The forum issued these instructions keeping in view the recommendations of the Ulema concerned. The NCOC guidelines underlined that all Muharram gatherings and processions would be held under Covid-19 SOPs.

“Use of face masks, social distancing, thermal screening during religious processions will be ensured by the administration of that event,” the guidelines said. “Private gatherings at homes will be discouraged. Sanitizers and masks would be provided at the venues of the gatherings and processions.”

The NCOC guidelines noted that the Muharram gatherings would be held in ventilated and open spaces. In addition, coronavirus SOPs will be prominently displayed during the rallies and processions throughout Muharram.

The NCOC, which serves as the nerve centre of the government’s unified effort to contain the spread of the deadly contagion, has also geared up its nationwide vaccination campaign as the fourth wave of the disease grips the country.

On Tuesday, the health officials announced that the vaccination process crossed the halfway mark of the target of inoculating 70 million people by the yearend. So far, a total of 41,818,881 people have been vaccinated across the country, according to official figures.

According to official statistics, 1,897,649 people have so far received both doses of the vaccine. The data showed a total of 1,124,306 people were vaccinated in the last 24 hours, of which 224,219 were given the second dose of the vaccine.

The NCOC said in its daily update that the national tally of active Covid-19 cases recorded a persistent rise on Tuesday, rising to 84,427 on Tuesday. During the past 24 hours, the forum said, 3,884 more people tested positive for the virus while 2,669 people recovered from the disease.

Among the active cases, the forum said, the number of critical patients had also risen to an alarming level, saying that at present, 4,530 patients were admitted to various Covid-dedicated healthcare facilities of the country. The national positivity ratio during the past 24 hours was 7.84%.

The daily NCOC update said that 86 patients died during the past 24 hours, raising the nationwide death toll to 24,004.The national caseload of the disease, since the start of the pandemic in February 2020, rose to 1,075,504. Of them, 967,073 people have recovered so far.

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