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What are the SOPs for Muharram?

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  • National COVID-19 governing body issues guidelines for safe conduct of Ashura.
  • Advises minimum participation and attendance, curtailing duration of gatherings.
  • Orders strict adherence to proposed SOPs and COVID-19 related restrictions

The country’s nerve centre in the fight against coronavirus, National Command and Operation Centre, 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 uptick of the virus across Pakistan.

The NCOC on Friday issued the guidelines for holding the gatherings and processions during the month of Muharram.

Muharram moon, which will mark the beginning of the Islamic year, is expected to be sighted on the evening of July 29 (Friday), the Pakistan Meteorological Department reported, citing astronomical parameters.

Following are the guidelines for holding gatherings and processions

  • COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures i.e mask wearing, social distancing and use of sanitizers/ 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 sanitizers / hand
  • 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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