ISLAMABAD    -   With Pakistan logging hundreds of COVID-19 cas­es everyday, the National Institute of Health, Is­lamabad (NIH) has advised strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), including mask wearing and social distancing during Mu­harram gatherings.

Gathering and majalis to remember the Shuha­da-e-Karbala (martyrs of Karbala) have started as the country observes the first day of the month of Muharram to mark the beginning of the new Is­lamic year today (Sunday).

Pakistan reported only a single death from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the NIH data showed Sunday morning. As many as 661 new in­fections were detected in a single day as the coun­try’s nerve centre in the fight against coronavi­rus performed diagnostic tests on 20,080 samples across the country.

The new cases pushed the coronavirus positivity rate in Pakistan to 3.29% and the number of total COVID-19 cases to 1,553,386. Meanwhile, 171 pa­tients suffering from coronavirus are being treat­ed in critical care units at different medical facil­ities across the country. NIH has restricted the elderly and children from attending the gatherings and majalis during Ashura in a COVID-safe man­ner, as the risk of another outbreak looms with up­tick of the virus across Pakistan