The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Thursday announced ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ strategy to control mobility from May 8 to 16 including Eid holidays. The current spike of Covid-19 in the country needs effective measures to contain its further spread with special emphasis on reducing mobility during forthcoming Eid, said an NCOC tweet. The guidelines issued by the NCOC included announcement of Eid holidays from 10-15 May, clearly stating intention of reducing national mobility. It also underscored issuance of comprehensive SOPs and guidelines for Youm-e-Ali (AS), Itekaf, Shab-e-Qadar, Jumma-tul-Wida and Namaz-e-Eid by May 1. All markets, businesses and shops will remain closed except essential services that are grocery stores, pharmacies and medical stores, medical facilities and vaccination centres, vegetable, fruits, chicken and meat shops, bakeries, petrol pumps, food takeaways and e-commerce (home delivery), utility services (electricity, natural gas, internet, cellular networks/telecommunication call centres) and media. “Ban has been imposed on Chand Raat bazaars including mehndi, jewelry, ornaments and clothing stalls,” the notification added. There will also be complete ban on tourism for both locals and outsiders. All tourist resorts, both formal and informal picnic spots, public parks, shopping malls and hotels and restaurants in and around tourist and picnic spots will remain closed. Travel nodes leading to tourist picnic spots will also remain closed with focus on Murree, Galyat, Swat-Kalam, Sea View, beaches and Northem Areas and other tourist destinations. Locals, especially people of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), will be allowed to travel back home. The forum also imposed ban on inter-provincial, inter-city and intra-city public transport except private vehicles, taxis, cabs and rickshaws with 50 percent occupancy. In order to cope with massive crowds of passengers additional trains will manage extra passenger load till 7 May, thereafter normal train operation will be resumed. The media channels to air special Eid holiday packages (movies, dramas entertainment shows) to keep public at home whereas uninterrupted electricity supply would be ensured during Eid holidays, the guidelines added. The NCOC also decided to curtail inbound passenger flights to Pakistan from 5th to 20th May, 2021. These restrictions would be reviewed on 18th May, 2021, the forum was told. The forum also decided to grant import permission of 6,000 MT of oxygen besides immediate import of 5000 oxygen cylinders to facilitate healthcare facilities. It was also decided to close scrap industry of Misri shah for diverting oxygen to health care facilities. The NCOC announced that the scheduled vaccination of individuals aged 40-49 will commence from May 3 (Monday). The NCOC decisions came as national tally of total active cases reached 89,838, with emergence of 5,480 new cases on Thursday. According to the latest update issued by the NCOC, as many as 3,699 people recovered while 151 died due to Covid-19, of whom 128 were under treatment in the hospitals and 23 in their respective quarantines or homes. Most of the deaths occurred in Punjab, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Out of the total 151 deaths occurred in hospitals, 60 were on ventilators. The maximum ventilators were occupied in four major areas including Lahore 73 percent, Multan 73 percent, Gujranwala 62 percent and Mardan 73 percent. The maximum oxygen beds were occupied in four major areas of Swat 60 percent, Mardan 65 percent, Peshawar 70 percent and Swabi 67 percent. Around 689 ventilators were occupied elsewhere in the country while no Covid-affected person was on ventilator in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Balochistan. Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho on Thursday said that along with the UK variant, a variant ‘B1135’ has also been detected in the coronavirus cases reported in Karachi. The minister said that out of 22 coronavirus cases that were investigated, the UK variant was confirmed in 18 cases, while the B1135 variant was confirmed in two cases.