The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday extended Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) to 27 cities across the country with higher disease prevalence and healthcare occupancy due to rising number of infections. The NCOC made the decision to continue implementation of Covid-19 SOPs in view of current pandemic situation and increasing pressure on Covid dedicated healthcare facilities. Earlier, these SOPs were implemented in 13 cities of the country having high positivity ratio and disease spread. The 27 cities to ensure strict enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions and SOPs included Islamabad, 11cities of Punjab (Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Multan, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan). It also included Hyderabad and Karachi in Sindh, Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan, whereas the cities from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were Peshawar, Swat, Haripur, Mansehra, Lower Dir, Swabi, Abbottabad, Swat, and Chitral Lower. The Covid-19 SOPs to be enforced noted that all commercial activities (except essential services) to be closed at 8 pm. Moreover, all markets would be closed two days a week whereas the determination of off days would be at the discretion of the provinces. The restrictions on indoor dining in restaurants would be maintained while outdoor dining to be allowed at 10:00 pm. However, the takeaway service would remain open 24 hours a day. The SOPs underscored that there would be a complete ban on indoor wedding ceremonies whereas outdoor wedding ceremonies with 300 guests would be permissible which would be until 10:00 pm. Furthermore, devotee visits to the shrine would continue to be banned along with restrictions to cinemas to be maintained. The ban on contact sports like karate, boxing, martial arts, rugby, water polo, kabaddi and wrestling would continue to be banned. “Only vaccinated people will be able to go to the indoor gym,” it added. In order to contain disease spread, normal office hours for public and private offices would continue with 50 percent strength in their premises. The restrictions also included that public transport would operate on 50 percent while rail service will continue with 70 percent passengers capacity. Amusement parks and swimming pools would remain closed whereas public to be allowed to enter public parks with COVID-19 protocols, it said. The education sector was allowed to operate with COVID-19 SOPs as the Forum decided that educational institutions across the country would be opened three days a week with 50% strength and on staggered basis. The forum would review its implemented SOPs on September 13. Meanwhile, the national tally of total active Covid-19 cases was recorded at 93,504, one of the highest during fourth wave of pandemic on Sunday as 3,909 more people tested positive for the deadly virus and 3,443 people recovered from the disease. Sixty-nine patients died, 62 of whom were under treatment in the hospitals and seven of them perished in their respective quarantines or homes, according to the latest update issued by the NCOC. Most of the deaths occurred in Punjab, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Out of the total 69 deaths, 31 were under treatment on ventilators. There were 5,639 Covid infected patients under treatment in critical condition with 43 infected people admitted during past 24 hours in various Covid dedicated healthcare facilities of the country. The national Covid positivity ratio on Sunday was recorded at 6.21%.