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Pakistan reimposes Covid curbs

The federal government has decided to reimpose certain restrictions in selected cities from August 03 to 31 in the wake of rising numbers of COVID patients in the country.

“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 Abbotabad 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 said 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 had already imposed smart lock down in Karachi and Hyderabad till August 08, while from the 9th August 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.”

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.

Asad Umar said the Prime Minister was totally against imposing complete lock down from very beginning of the outburst of the pandemic.

He said under the directions of Prime Minister, the government developed a policy of smart lock down which remained successful in first three waves of COVID and the same policy is being adopted in the fourth wave as well.

Asad Umar said a large portion of our society was daily wagers who could not afford a complete lock down.

“Therefore in order to ensure their livelihoods and to save them from the pandemic, the government had developed a balanced and targeted lock down strategy.”

He said the number of COVID patients were rising especially in big cities, and the hospitalized patients were also increasing.

The minister also called upon the people to get vaccinated as early as possible to keep themselves safe from the delta variant of the virus.

He said as per data, the people who got first dose of COVID vaccine were three times safer than those who were not inoculated yet while the people with both doses were three times safer than those who got only first jab.

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