At least seven people succumbed to Covid-19 in a day, whereas the national positivity ratio reached 3.24%, according to the data released by the National Health Institute (NIH) on Saturday. Six of those who passed away from the virus belonged to Karachi – which has been hit the hardest by the current wave – and one from Peshawar. As per the NIH’s daily tally, around 732 people tested positive out of the 22,568 tests conducted in the past day. At least 158 patients remained in critical care. Earlier this week, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) issued new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Eidul Azha, in the wake of the recent spurt in coronavirus infections across the country. The Eid guidelines mark a return of facemasks and social distancing protocol on the joyous occasion, which would be celebrated for three days from Sunday. The forum encouraged people to opt for collective Qurbani and ensure the implementation of precautionary measures. “It has been advised to undertake minimal necessary travel during Eid holidays as the risk of a new wave was imminent,” the NCOC said, asking the masses to take every precaution to prevent the pandemic spread. The guidelines said that Eid prayers should be organised in open spaces with staggered timings – in 2-3 shifts at one venue – to minimise attendance. The guidelines proposed multiple entry and exit points at the prayer venue to avoid a rush of people. Moreover, the NCOC issued directives to airports a day earlier to ensure 100% rapid antigen testing (RAT) of pilgrims returning from Hajj. The notification stated that in lieu of the risk of transmission involved in mass gatherings, rising disease prevalence globally, and soaring Covid-19 cases in Pakistan, testing would be performed in international airports of Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Multan and Islamabad. The return Hajj flights will begin from July 15. The NCOC notification stated that filling credentials on the pass track application had been made mandatory and the travellers would be required to quarantine at home for at least 10 days in the event of a positive test.