COVID-19: Marriage ceremonies in Pakistan to conclude within two hours

Islamabad: Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) today issued fresh guidelines for marriage halls and places of public gatherings and cautioned that large scale gatherings ‘have the potential to increase exponential increase in disease spread.’

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A statement after the meeting held in the federal capital to review coronavirus situation in the country, said in case a second wave comes it will jeopardize the success achieved against COVID-19 hence ideally, such gatherings should not be held.

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The NCOC meeting reviewed the overall virus situation particularly in the backdrop of a warning by the National Institute of Health (NIH) a day earlier that coronavirus might return during the winter season. Prime Minister Imran Khan too earlier this week had warned of a second wave of coronavirus.

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Marriage parties’ time restricted to 2 hours

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It was decided in the NCOC meeting that every marriage ceremony would conclude within two hours and a marriage hall is allowed 300 guests in the inside and 500 in the outside gatherings.

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These new guidelines are issued at a time when the National Health Ministry’s portal announced 8 deaths during the last 24 hours taking the total number of deaths to 6,552.

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Cases go beyond 300,000

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Pakistan reported a total of 317,595 confirmed cases of coronavirus on Friday while 661 new infections were registered during the last day. Pakistan recoveries from the virus too jumped beyond 302,708 with 34 new recovered cases during the previous day.

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The virus situation is worsening in Islamabad as the authorities have sealed three more educational institutions after emergence of positive cases.

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An advisory by the District Health Office of Islamabad has recommended to the district administration of Islamabad to seal the three colleges— Margalla College in F-7/4, Islamabad Model College for Girls F-7/4 near Maqbool Market and the Girls College on Bhittai Road in F-7/2— until further orders.

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Directives have been issued to police to seal the three educational institutions, Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat said.

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Premises vacated

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From each of the above-mentioned institutions, three cases of coronavirus were reported, he further said. Later, according to the colleges’ administrative staff, students and parents have been informed about the decision, and their premises have been vacated.

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With closure of the two educational institutions the total number of public sector colleges will be six. A department and a hostel of a local university have also been banned till further orders.

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Now the health teams of the District Health Office are tracing these positive cases’ contacts and all their contacts would be tested, said the DHO.

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Islamabad today reported 113 new cases of coronavirus after 4,443 testes. This is first time the number goes beyond 100 in a month while the infection rate has jumped from 1 per cent to 2.5 per cent. So far the city’s total cases of coronavirus are 17,112 and the death toll stands at 188. A patient of coronavirus expired during the last 24 hours, said the Health Ministry’s website.

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