Covid-19: Pakistan announces curbs for major cities as country battles 'fourth wave'
The restrictions will come into effect on Tuesday and will last till the end of the month, federal minister for planning Asad Umar announced.
National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), the body leading Pakistan's response to the coronavirus pandemic, on Sunday announced fresh restrictions for major cities across the country, which finds itself gripped by what has been described as its fourth wave of the pandemic. The restrictions, the NCOC said, will come into effect on Tuesday and will last till the end of the month.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the NCOC, federal minister for planning, Asad Umar, who heads the body, said the federal government is taking "targeted and staggered" decisions to control the fourth wave, believed to be caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
"Markets will now close at 8pm instead of 10pm. The 50% work from home policy, and 50% occupancy for public transport will also resume. Once again, there will be a ban on indoor dining, while outdoor dining is allowed till 10pm, with delivery and takeaway permitted," Umar announced. The fresh measures, he said, became necessary due to an increase in daily Covid-19 infections, as well as the positivity ratio.
The restrictions will be applicable in the country's two largest cities -- Karachi and Lahore -- national capital Islamabad, and other cities like Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Abbottabad etc.
The minister also urged employees working in the service sector, including transport workers, shopkeepers, banks, and those in any job that requires meeting a large number of people, to take their Covid-19 vaccine shots by August 31. This is also the date by which students above the age of 18 should get themselves vaccinated, Umar said.
According to NCOC's data, Pakistan logged 4858 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, down from the previous spike of 5026 cases, which was the country's highest since April 29, when 5112 people tested positive.
(With PTI inputs)