NCOC announces new restrictions in major cities as COVID-19 cases rise

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Monday announced some new restrictions in major cities of Pakistan in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Holding a press conference in Islamabad alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, the minister said that all the decisions were taken after the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The minister said that the new coronavirus restrictions will come into effect from Aug 3 and will remain in place until Aug 31.

In Punjab, restrictions will be imposed in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Multan; in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar and Abbottabad will have the new restrictions.

In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, restrictions will be imposed in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur, while in Gilgit-Baltistan, the new rules will apply to Gilgit and Skardu.

As for Sindh, Lockdowns are already in place in Karachi and Hyderabad, but after August 8, the NCOC’s new curbs will also apply, the minister said.

Per the new restrictions, all commercial activities will be closed by 8pm instead of 10 pm, while indoor dining will remain banned. He said that outdoor dining will be allowed until 10pm instead of 12am, while takeaway and home-delivery services from restaurants will be allowed 24 hours a day.

The minister announced that public transport will operate on a 50% capacity to avoid crowding inside vehicles.

Shops and markets will remain closed twice a week, he said, adding that provincial governments will decide about the safe days.

Umar added that offices will continue to operate on a 50% capacity and appealed to the masses to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned a meeting on coronavirus as the pandemic spirals out of control with over 8% positivity ratio being reported in the last two days.

The COVID-19 situation has worsened further in the country after Eid despite multiple warnings from the health authorities for the implementation of government-mandated safety protocols.

The meeting discussed the surge in coronavirus positive cases and deliberated upon measures to contain the spread of the Delta variant of virus in the country.

The PM was briefed about the lockdown in Sindh imposed since July 31 (Saturday) after a sharp spike in infections. The federal ministers have strongly objected to the restrictions in the province, saying it will hurt the economic progress that has been achieved so far.

Nearly 5,000 new infections

Meanwhile, data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Monday showed that at least 40 more patients of COVID-19 died overnight and 4,858 new cases emerged across the country.

According to the latest statistics of the NCOC, 56,414 COVID-19 tests were conducted across the country in the last 24 hours, of which 4,858 were confirmed to be positive.

The rate of positive cases in the country is 8.61%, which is the highest positivity rate since May 17, said that official portal.

The number of deaths has risen to 23,462 and the total number of cases has reached 1,039,965.


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