ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services on Sunday issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for mitigation of spread of person-to-person transmission of Covid-19 to general public including the buyers and sellers of animals during Eidul Azha.
According to an official of the ministry, the SOPs were related to social distancing, preventive measures during slaughtering of animals and Eid prayers on the occasion of Eidul Azha.
He said that public should only undertake minimal necessary travel during Eid holidays as it is likely to fall in the peak period of pandemic in Pakistan while social visits at Eid and general family get together should be avoided.
He said that as per SOPs, Eid shopping should only be restricted to minimal essentials and crowding in markets is not advisable. The tradition of ‘Eid embracing’ is likely to increase transmission so it should be avoided for this Eid, he added.
He also said that the local authorities should encourage the trend of online buying, e-selling and slaughter arrangements of the animals as much as possible in their respective cities and towns. The authorities should allocate large enough spaces away from general populated areas for animal markets and must get the markets set under their supervision while allocating the space to the animal vendors strictly following social distancing principles, he added.
The official said that the local authority must ensure that every individual visiting the market including buyer or seller must wear face mask as per the government’s orders. Those without face masks would not be allowed within the market, he added.
Similarly, he also said, the local authority must ensure the availability of thermal guns at entrance and allow customers only after checking temperature. He added that the local authority must designate an individual at the entrance and exit of the market with alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 70 per cent alcohol) to make sure each customer sanitises hand before entering and while leaving the market.
As per SOPs, the official said, do not allow the customer with cough and flu to enter the market and to ensure the space does not get crowded, allow people to enter the market only in small groups at intervals. The sellers must keep themselves updated with the updated instructions issued by the government and show strict compliance to the buyers, he added.
He also said that the buyer must wear a surgical or medical mask as per the government orders and do not go to the market if suffering from fever, cough or flu. He asked to make sure to sanitise hands before and after visiting the market.
The official said that these guidelines have been developed to propose measures to ensure continued and uninterrupted prayers for Muslims on Eidul Azha.
He said that as per SOPs, citizens have been asked to discourage the sick and elderly and children under 15 years of age from attending prayers and discourage the socialising within the mosques after prayers.
He added that people must avoid handshake while worshipers must maintain social distancing by keeping two meters distance between each other, and every other row should be left empty. He further asked to avoid crowding when entering or exiting the mosques.
The official said that every person should wear face surgical mask and worshippers should bring their own prayer mat and not leave them behind after the prayer. Clean floors for prayers must be ensured by washing them with chlorinated water regularly, he added.