Pakistan issues fresh Covid guidelines for Eid ul Azha as cases rise


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan‘s Covid-19 response body on Tuesday issued fresh guidelines with masking up and social distancing among the measures for Eid ul Azha as the number of coronavirus cases rose across the country.
Covid cases witnessed a spike in Pakistan from mid of June, with officials fearing that the infections would spread further due to shopping and the celebrations leading up to Eid ul Azha to be observed on Sunday, the Geo News reported.
According to Johns Hopkins university data, Pakistan has so far reported 1,539,275 coronavirus cases and 30,403 deaths.
As per the National Institute of Health (NIH), Pakistan reported 653 new infections in the last 24 hours, while the positivity rate clocked in at 3.45 per cent. No new deaths have been reported during this period.
In a notification, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) noted that “being a significant religious event/congregation; Eid ul Azha prayer and qurbani assume greater importance under the current Covid situation in the country”.
As per the guidelines, Eid prayers will be organised in open spaces “under stringent Covid protocols”.
In case of a compulsion to offer prayers inside mosques, all the doors and windows should remain open for ventilation, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The NCOC also recommended that two to three prayers be organised at one venue with staggered timings so that maximum people can attend it with Covid precautions.
The elderly, sick and young children have been discouraged from attending congregation because they are more vulnerable to getting infected.
No one will be allowed to enter mosques without masks. There will be separate entry and exit points at the venue to avoid “jumbling up of individuals” and hand sanitiser dispensers will be installed.
The NCOC also instructed mosques to ensure social distancing of at least six feet between worshippers to avoid physical contact. People should also refrain from shaking hands or hugging each other to avoid the chances of disease transmission.
Separately, people have been encouraged to perform ablution at home and bring their own prayer mats to the mosques.
In addition, gathering after the prayers have been discouraged and people have been advised to immediately disperse after the congregation.
The government has encouraged people to opt for collective ‘qurbani’ (slaughtering) this year through public, private and community organisations and ensure the implementation of precautionary measures, the Dawn report said.


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