The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday issued new guidelines for marriage halls, saying that it is officially restricting the number of guests and limiting functions till 10pm. According to the new guidelines, events can only last for as long as two hours and all events must end by 10pm. Indoor events can have a maximum of 300 guests while the outdoor events a maximum of 500 guests. A statement issued by the NCOC said that new guidelines were formed after in-depth deliberations and have been shared with the provinces for strict implementation to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.Under the new guidelines, apart from the limits imposed on the capacities, the events can only be held for two hours and must end by 10pm. The statement said that if marriage halls are found to be in violation of the SOPs then they will be closed off at a ‘specified time’ and a heavy fine will also be imposed. It further said that the closure of SOPs-defying marriage halls will come into effect two weeks after the notices are served so people get ‘sufficient time’ to search for alternate venues. The NCOC also said that the marriage hall owners will be required to reimburse the full amount to the families in case of closures. The NCOC discouraged ‘large-scale public gatherings’, saying they have the ‘potential to cause exponential increase’ in the coronavirus. It also said that such gatherings will also ‘jeopardise the success achieved’ against coronavirus and should ‘ideally be avoided’. “If some public gatherings are unavoidable, then these must be organised with strict compliance of the SOPs, for which deliberations are currently underway and will subsequently be decided at the NCOC,” said the statement.Meanwhile, the total active Covid-19 cases in Pakistan on Friday were recorded at 8,335 as 661 more people tested positive for the deadly virus during the last 24 hours. Eight coronavirus patients, six of whom were under treatment in hospital and two out of the hospital died, according to the latest update issued by the NCOC. No Covid-affected person was on ventilator in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Balochistan, while 67 ventilators elsewhere in Pakistan, out of 1,912 allocated for COVID-19 patients, were occupied. Some 33,898 tests were conducted across the country on Thursday, including 11,138 in Sindh, 11,214 in Punjab, 4,244 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 4,443 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 1,091 in Balochistan, 497 in Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and 1,217 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Around 302,708 people have recovered from the disease so far across Pakistan making it a significant count with over 90 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients.Since the pandemic outbreak, a total of 317,595 cases were detected so far, including AJK 2,980, Balochistan 15,480, GB 3,893, ICT 17,122, KP 38,219, Punjab 100,330 and Sindh 139,571. About 6,552 deaths were recorded in country since the eruption of the contagion, including 2,541 Sindh among 4 died in hospital and two died out of hospital on Thursday, 2,248 in Punjab one of them died in hospital on Thursday, 1,263 in KP, 188 in ICT one of them in hospital on Thursday, 146 in Balochistan, 89 in GB and 77 in AJK.