A file photo of people wearing masks stand in queue to receive COVID-19 shots. Photo: Geo.tv/ file


A file photo of people wearing masks stand in queue to receive COVID-19 shots. Photo: Geo.tv/ file 
  • Pakistan reports 806 COVID-19 cases.
  • Positivity rate shoots up to 3.85%.
  • NIH advises Pakistanis to mask up during Muharram gatherings.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reported 806 fresh COVID-19 cases and nine coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) data showed Wednesday morning.

During the last 24 hours, a total of 20,949 COVID-19 diagnostic tests were conducted, of which 806 samples came back positive, the institution’s data showed.

Following the detection of new cases, the COVID-19 positivity ratio stood at 3.85%, moving up from 2.84%, which was recorded a day earlier.

According to NIH’s data, 160 COVID-19 patients are being treated in  intensive-care units (ICU) across the country at different medical facilities.

Pakistanis advised to mask up

With Pakistan logging hundreds of COVID-19 cases every day, the NIH has advised strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), including mask wearing and social distancing during Muharram gatherings.

Gathering and majalis to remember the Shuhada-e-Karbala (martyrs of Karbala) have started as the country observes the new Islamic year — which began on Sunday (July 31).

What are the SOPs for Muharram?

NIH has restricted the elderly and children from attending the gatherings and majalis during Ashura in a COVID-safe manner, as the risk of another outbreak looms with an uptick of the virus across Pakistan.

Following are the guidelines for holding gatherings and processions

  • COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures i.e mask-wearing, social distancing and use of sanitisers/ hand washing should be adhered to
  • Organising committees should make arrangements for all SOPs
  • Zakirs and participants should be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Venue for conduct of Majalis should be open and spacious with proper
  • ventilation arrangements
  • Wearing of masks and maintenance of social distancing is mandatory during majalis and Processions. Availability of masks and sanitisers/ hand washes
  • Controlled participation according to capacity of venues and avoidance of overcrowding
  • Duration of majalis and processions should be curtailed
  • Majalis where SOPs cannot be effectively implemented such as
  • homes and private gatherings should be discouraged
  • Elderly above 65 years, children and co-morbid may be sensitized to
  • attend Majalis at home through live streaming
  • Proper arrangements for cleaning venues with chlorine before and after the events
  • Display of COVID-19 SOPs and precautions at prominent places
  • SOPs compliance by employing volunteer scouts

Miscellaneous aspects

  • Arrangements for food and drinks in spacious and ventilated place.
  • Emphasis on use of disposable utensils; preference on pre-packaged boxes for distribution of food.
  • Avoiding overcrowding at food distribution points/locations.
  • No handshake and embracing.

Areas of focus

Some of the aspects meriting necessary actions at the federal and federating units level, include following:

  • Messaging by religious clerics for uniform implementation of SOPs /guidelines proposed by NCOC.
  • Strict enforcement of SOPs by civil administration. 


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