In the wake of rising numbers of Covid-19 patients in the country, the federal government on Monday decided to reimpose certain restrictions in selected cities from August 3 to 31 to contain the pandemic.
“After approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has decided to impose certain restrictions in Islamabad, Rawalapindi, Lahore, Multan, and Faisalabad in Punjab, Peshawar and Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh, Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit Baltistan,” Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar told a press conference after a meeting with the prime minister here. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan was also present in the press conference.
Asad Umar said the Sindh government has already imposed smart lockdown in Karachi and Hyderabad till August 08, while from August 9, the federal government’s decisions would apply in these cities. He said the markets which were allowed to remain open till 10 pm would now again be closed at 8 pm in the selected cities.
Similarly, he said the markets would now also be closed two days in a week instead of one day. “The off days will be decided by the respected provinces.”
Furthermore, Umar said the government had allowed indoor dining for the vaccinated people only, however very weak compliance was seen in the restaurants. “It was also not possible for the administration to check each and every restaurant in this regard,” he added. Therefore, he said, the government has decided to allow outdoor dining only till 10 pm. However take away service would remain open till 12 in the night, he added.
With respect to offices, the minister pointed out that 50% attendance would be allowed in all public and private offices while the remaining 50% employees would work from home.
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.
Meanwhile, the national tally of total active Covid-19 cases was recorded at 73,213 on Monday, with 4,858 more people testing positive for the deadly virus and 1,361 people recovering from the disease. Forty patients died on Monday, 38 of whom were under treatment in hospitals and two of them perished in their respective quarantines or homes, according to the latest update issued by the NCOC.
Most of the deaths occurred in Sindh followed by Punjab. Out of the total 40 deaths, 19 died during treatment on ventilators.
There were 3,441 Covid infected patients under treatment in critical condition with 233 of them admitted during past 24 hours in various Covid dedicated healthcare facilities of the country. The national Covid positivity ratio on Monday was recorded 8.61 percent.
The maximum ventilators were occupied in four major cities including Islamabad 33%, Lahore 21%, Peshawar 26% and Skardu 25%. The maximum oxygen beds were also occupied in four major cities of Gilgit 33%, Karachi 57%, Abbottabad 55% and Peshawar 29%. Around 318 ventilators were occupied elsewhere in the country while no COVID affected person was on ventilator in Balochistan.
Some 56,414 tests were conducted across the country on Sunday, including 18,618 in Sindh, 20,049 in Punjab, 10,338 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 3,076 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 2,083 in Balochistan, 945 in GB, and 1,305 in AJK. Around 943,020 people have recovered from the disease so far across Pakistan making it a significant count with over 90 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients.
Since the pandemic broke out, a total of 1,039,695 cases were detected that also included the perished, recovered and under treatment Covid-19 patients so far, including AJK 24,891, Balochistan 30,502, GB 8,212, ICT 88,093, KP 144,848, Punjab 357,735 and Sindh 385,414.