NCOC announces stricter restrictions for cities with high Covid positivity ratio

Published August 2, 2021
Federal planning minister Asad Umar speaks at a press conference. — DawnNewsTV
Federal planning minister Asad Umar speaks at a press conference. — DawnNewsTV

Federal planning minister Asad Umar on Monday announced revised restrictions for a number of cities as the fourth wave of the coronavirus continues its momentum in the country.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), he said the government took "targeted and staggered" decisions to curb the virus's spread after much thought and deliberation in order to minimise the impact on the poor sections.

He added that people's livelihoods needed to be taken care of as well as their health.

Describing the current Covid-19 situation, he said the virus had spread rapidly in the past week, with cases, positivity ratio and hospitalisations all witnessing a spike.

According to the minister, the latest decisions taken with the permission of Prime Minister Imran Khan would include:

  • Scaling back market closure timings from 10pm to 8pm
  • Closure of indoor dining; outdoor dining (till 10pm), takeaway and delivery will continue
  • Resumption of 50 per cent work-from-home policy
  • Public transport to operate with 50pc occupancy
  • Two days in a week to be observed as safe days with provinces free to choose

The new restrictions, which will last from August 3 to Aug 31, will apply to Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan in Punjab; Peshawar and Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh (after the current partial lockdown in Sindh ends on Aug 8); Islamabad; Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Kashmir; and Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Explaining the rationale for restrictions such as on indoor dining, Umar, the head of the NCOC, said: "Unfortunately the permission we had given for indoor dining, mandating that only those who are vaccinated [would be allowed], it wasn't being applied and compliance and implementation was very weak.

"Our administration was also saying that it was not possible to go and check in every restaurant whether only vaccinated people were being allowed; that is why indoor dining is being banned."

The new restrictions come after the Sindh government instituted a province-wide partial lockdown on Friday from July 31 to Aug 8 due to the rising number of coronavirus cases.

The fourth wave of the pandemic has continued its upward trajectory in Pakistan, with 5,026 cases reported on Sunday in a 24-hour period — the highest number of daily cases in the country since April 29 when 5,112 infections were reported.

The latest surge is blamed on the Delta variant, originally detected in India some months ago, along with lax social attitudes and increased activity around Eidul Azha.

Opinion

Editorial

1971 in retrospect
Updated 28 Nov, 2022

1971 in retrospect

The point of no return came when the military launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971.
Gender-based violence
28 Nov, 2022

Gender-based violence

IT is a war without boundaries and seemingly without end. A UN report on femicide released on Nov 25, the...
Battle against dacoits
28 Nov, 2022

Battle against dacoits

THE Punjab police is clearly fighting a formidable, and so far losing, battle against the criminal gangs based in ...
Policy rate hike
Updated 27 Nov, 2022

Policy rate hike

The decision to hike the policy rate by 100bps is a step in the right direction, even if intended to appease the IMF.
Vawda’s reprieve
27 Nov, 2022

Vawda’s reprieve

FAISAL Vawda should be relieved. After years of running from a reckoning for submitting a false declaration in his...
Gujarat’s ghosts
27 Nov, 2022

Gujarat’s ghosts

TWO decades have passed since the bloody Gujarat riots, one of the worst spasms of anti-Muslim violence witnessed in...