5 areas in capital sealed, NA activities suspended to fight Covid

Published March 15, 2021
An elderly resident sits in a waiting area after having her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Karachi on March 10. — Reuters/File
An elderly resident sits in a waiting area after having her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Karachi on March 10. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: After over 2,600 patients of Covid-19 were reported in a single day, the number of active cases has jumped from 16,000 to 21,000 in just two weeks with the national positivity ratio rising to 6.2 per cent.

Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan became the latest politician to contract coronavirus.

Meanwhile, in order to avoid further spread of the virus, all activities of the National Assembly have been partially suspended.

Moreover, as the new UK variant strain is prevalent in Islamabad, five residential sectors of the federal capital — F-11/1, G-6/2, G-10/4, I-8/4 and I-10/2 — have been sealed. No objection certificates issued to all functions, festivals and gatherings have been withdrawn. No indoor activity will be allowed. Outdoor functions will be allowed for two hours only with less than 300 people in attendance.

According to a tweet by the deputy commissioner of Islamabad, Hamza Shafqat, 51 cases were reported from sector F-11/1, 53 from I-8/4 and 48 cases were reported from sector I-10/2 in a single day.

“Commercial areas and amusement parks will be completely locked down on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. More areas are expected to be locked down. New UK variant strain is prevalent in Islamabad. Offices are not allowed to call more than 50 per cent of their staff,” he tweeted. Any violation in any premises of social distancing or mask wearing will lead to sealing of the place forthwith, he said, adding that everyone is requested to please cooperate. “Stay safe everyone,” he tweeted.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 2,664 people got infected and 32 succumbed to the virus whereas 247 ventilators were occupied across the country. Out of the total vents allocated for Covid-19 patients, 38pc were in use in Islamabad, 34pc in Lahore, 28pc in Multan and 25pc in Peshawar.

The data on oxygenated beds showed that 51pc were occupied in Gujrat, Peshawar, 44pc; Islamabad, 37pc and Lahore, 31pc.

The number of active cases, which was around 16,000 last month, has reached 21,121 as of March 14. The national positivity rate has been calculated at 6.2pc.

The data further showed that 605,200 cases have been detected in Pakistan, out of which 570,571 had recovered and 13,508 could not survive. Moreover, 2,301 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country.

According to a statement issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, all activities of the National Assembly had been partially suspended to avoid further spread of Covid-19 virus.

The decision has been taken in the wake of rising number of coronavirus cases.

“Office order in this regard has been issued by the administration wing of the National Assembly Secretariat. According to the decision, the offices of the Secretariat would be closed till March 15 for disinfection. Resultantly, the meetings of the National Assembly standing committees and public accounts and special committees have also been cancelled due to closure of offices,” the statement said.

“The Secretariat will resume its functions on 16th with minimum strength required for carrying out official business. Heads of the parliamentary committees and legislation wings have been authorised to call minimum staff. The Secretariat staff has been directed to immediately get themselves tested for Covid-19 in case of any symptoms. They have further been directed to wear face masks, avoid shaking hands and maintain social distance as per the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Covid-19 while on duty,” it stated.

Meanwhile, ANP spokesperson Samar Haroon Bilour, in a tweet, said the party chief, Asfandyar Wali Khan, had tested positive for the virus.

She said Mr Khan had quarantined himself at Wali Bagh in Charsadda and appealed to everyone to pray for his early recovery.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2021

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