ISLAMABAD: A new set of restrictions — issued by the National Command and Operation Centre — will be imposed in the federal capital from September 4 till 12 in the light of a surge in coronavirus cases.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar presented a briefing about the additional restrictions to Prime Minister Imran Khan during an NCOC meeting on Friday.
Under the new restrictions, all indoor and outdoor gatherings and events will be banned in Islamabad. However, only the outdoor wedding events with a maximum of 300 guests are exempt from the restrictions.
In addition to this, there will be no movement of intercity public transport in the cities having a high percentage of coronavirus cases, while indoor gyms will also remain closed.
A review of the restrictions will be carried out on September 9, the NCOC said.
Meanwhile, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat announced that the increasing COVID-19 cases have increased the pressure on hospitals, therefore, new restrictions had to be imposed.
According to Shafqaat, the rise in COVID-19 cases has increased the pressure on hospitals.
The DC took to Twitter to announce the enforcement of restrictions in Islamabad that come into force on Saturday, September 4 and will remain in place till September 12, 2021.
“Due to increasing pressure on hospitals following restrictions are being notified from tomorrow till 12th Sep to control covid spread,” Shafqaat wrote on Twitter.
In addition to Islamabad, the NCOC also reviewed the situation in selected districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and decided to impose additional restrictions in those districts from September 4 to 12.
Akin to the federal capital, additional restrictions included a ban on all indoor and outdoor gatherings and events with the exception of outdoor weddings. For outdoor weddings, a maximum of 300 guests has been allowed.
Similarly, intercity public transport has been restricted in districts with high coronavirus positivity ratios. Indoor gyms will also remain closed like Islamabad.
Districts in Punjab included Sargodha, Khushab, Mianwali, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Faisalabad, Bhakkar, Gujarat, Gujranwala, Multan, Bahawalpur, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, and Sheikhupura.
As for KP, the selected districts include Haripur, Malakand, Mansehra, Swabi, DI Khan, Swat, Abbottabad, and Peshawar.
Owing to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, the government of Punjab has also decided to close all schools from September 6 to September 11.
Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said that schools will remain closed for six days to curb the rapid spread of the virus.
It should be noted that in the last 24 hours, the coronavirus positivity ratio in Punjab was recorded at 6%. Meanwhile, it was recorded at 9% in Lahore and 10% in Rawalpindi.
NCOC imposes new set of COVID-19 restrictions; bans indoor, outdoor events in Islamabad
Moreover, the Sindh Home Department also issued a notification stating that strict coronavirus-related additional restrictions will be imposed in Karachi Division and Hyderabad District in line with the NCOC's decision.
According to the notification, the NCOC has directed the concerned authorities to launch a special drive to enforce restrictions that primarily focus wedding halls, marquees, restaurants, and hotels.
It also states the mechanism devised by the NCOC for the enforcement of restrictions.
Under this mechanism, the authorities have been directed to make sure that nono indoor wedding events are organized in the aforementioned areas. However, outdoor wedding events are allowed across the province, with a maximum of 300 guests.
Also, no indoor dining services are allowed in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions, while outdoor dining services are permitted only till 10pm.
The Home Department advises the strict adherence of COVID-19 protocols in the wedding events and eateries across the stated areas .
According to the notification, the authorities are requested to seal the wedding halls, marquees, restaurants, or hotels and arrest the elements involved in case of violation of the restrictions.
Besides, the concerned authorities are requested to organize a vaccination drive, starting September 1 to 15, for extensive communication and advertisement at prominent spots.
The Home Department’s notification also obliges the concerned authorities to submit a daily record of the implementation of the above mentioned directives to the department, which will be forwarded to the NCOC.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's COVID-19 graph has been showing a declining trend as the country has mostly been recording less than 4,000 daily infections all of this week.
The South Asian country registered 3,787 more coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours after 59,745 tests were taken, taking the cumulative caseload to 1,171,578, the NCOC's data showed Friday morning.
The number of active coronavirus cases, too, have been declining for the last three days. The active cases fell to 90,076 Friday.
The positivity rate was recorded at 6.33%.
With 57 more deaths, the death toll crossed the 26,000-mark and now stands at 26,035, according to the NCOC stats.
The country’s daily recoveries continue to outnumber the daily new cases. Over 6,595 recoveries in the last 24 hours took the number of Pakistan's cumulative recoveries to 1,055,467.
Pakistan is reporting 3,911 new infections on average each day, 67% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on June 17.
The country has administered at least 58,156,714 doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 13.4% of the country’s population.
During the last week reported, Pakistan averaged about 1,019,949 doses administered each day. At that rate, it will take a further 43 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of the population.
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