The government of Sindh, on the recommendation of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), relaxed the Covid-19 restrictions, which were placed due to spread of coronavirus amid the fourth wave of the pandemic driven by the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus. In a notification issued by the provincial Home Department said that markets and business happenings could last till 8pm instead of 6pm. It revealed that the prohibition on indoor dining would continue though, outdoor dining will be permissible under severe Covid-19 etiquette till 10pm. Take away and home delivery are permitted 24/7,” it further added. The provincial government barred indoor weddings with effect from Monday. However, it permitted outdoor weddings with a maximum of 300 guests under the stringent execution of Covid standard operating procedures (SOPs). The closure of shrines and cinemas would continue in the province whereas the ban on contact sports would also be maintained. The routine work would continue in public and private sector offices. However, attendance would be reduced from 100 per cent to 50 per cent. A day earlier, the NCOC pronounced that the lockdown in the province would be lifted from Monday. In a mutual session held in Karachi, it was also decided that non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) dispensed by the NCOC for the top 13 cities with high disease frequency, including Karachi and Hyderabad, would be obligatory. Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan and other officials attended the session.
The statement further added that Special importance was laid on the employment of SOPs/NPIs, particularly in the wake of Muharram and lifting of the lockdown from August 9 onwards. Smart Lockdowns in high disease prevalence areas will also be enforced to curtail disease spread. CM Murad expressed his views in the meeting that the number of active Covid-19 cases was now on a descending trend in the province, chiefly in the provincial capital of Karachi where the positivity ratio had reduced by 3% to 21%.