ISLAMABAD : Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar on Thursday said that government has decided to reopen dine-in restaurants, cafes, cinemas and gyms from August 10 after a closure of nearly five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking to the media after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC), Asad Umar said that all educational institutions across the country would reopen from September 15. “A Covid-19 situation would be reviewed on September 7 before reopening of schools,” he added. The minister said that standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the recently allowed businesses will be finalised in the next few days. Talking about tourism spots, Asad Umar announced that all tourist spots and hotels in the country will reopen on August 8. The government has also given permission to hold events for non-contact sports from August 10, he announced. Announcing the resumption of all activities in the country, he said that the, tourism industry will be reopened from August 8; Restaurants, cafes (dine-in) from August 10; Cinemas, theatres and gyms from August 10; Non-contact sports from August 10; Educational institutions from September 15; and Marriage halls: September 15. It is pertinent to mention here that all restaurants, shopping malls and shops were closed following the lockdown imposed in the country in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Earlier today, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had decided to gear up media campaign for public awareness for containing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country. The NCOC meeting chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar discussed Epi Curve Chart data, recommendations for NCC meeting on negative list, standard operating procedures (SOPs) for opening of schools and comparative analysis. The forum was briefed that since the visible decline in coronavirus pandemic in the country a general complacency in the masses was observed where no mask wearing and social distancing were observed outdoors. However, the media campaigns and messaging about COVID-19 on television channels should be enhanced and revitalized to ensure public adherence to safety guidelines. The forum noted that the awareness campaign on COVID-19 to make the public realize that the deadly disease had not vanished rather lingering on which needed to be dealt with care and compliance of SOPs. The NCOC was briefed that in mid-June, as the number of COVID-19 patients boomed and the burden on hospitals increased, the government took practical steps to add 2150 oxygenated beds across the country by July 31 to increase the capacity of hospitals. As a result of the visits of special teams to all the provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), efforts were made to put in place practical measures to add 2850 oxygenated beds. So far, 2608 new oxygenated beds have been added to hospitals across the country, including 80 in AJK, 264 in Balochistan, 100 in GB, 400 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 787 in Punjab, 351 in Sindh and 626 in Islamabad. Moreover, ramp up was underway to add 242 more new oxygenated beds (10 in KP, 17 in Punjab and 215 in Sindh). Federal Minister for Interior Brig (Retd) Ejaz Ahmed Shah, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Khusroo Bakhtiyar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar and other also attended the meeting.
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