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Pakistan

Web Desk
March 20, 2021

Shaikh Rasheed says NCOC 'may consider' smart lockdowns in hotspots on Monday

Web Desk
Sat, Mar 20, 2021
Minister for Interior Shaikh Rasheed issuing a video statement, on March 20, 2021. — Photo courtesy Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed

Minister for Interior Shaikh Rasheed on Saturday said that the National Command and Operations Centre "may consider" imposing smart lockdowns on Monday in areas that have reported a high number of coronavirus cases.

His comments came as the country, which is grappling with a third wave of the pandemic, saw a jump in positivity ratio from 8% to nearly 10% in a single day.

Rasheed, in a video statement, warned that his remarks to television channels are being misconstrued and the possibility of new restrictions must not be confused with complete, nationwide lockdowns being enforced.

"I did not say at all that a lockdown will begin on Monday. False reports attributed to me have been circulating," he began by saying.

He said that he had responded to various channels' beepers and had said that on Monday, in coronavirus hotspots, the NCOC "may consider smart lockdowns".

"I did not speak of a complete, nationwide lockdown at all. So I wish to say to everyone, this is a false report being circulated," Rasheed said.

He added that the decision, in any case, will be taken by the NCOC and does not fall under the purview of the interior ministry.

As per the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Pakistan carried out 40,946 tests in the last 24 hours out of which 3,876 returned positive, taking the national positivity ratio to 9.46%.

With the new cases, the total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan reached 623,135 and the active cases in the country stand at 27,188.

Additionally, the country lost 42 people to the deadly virus in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide death tally to 13,799.