Govt body proposes easing lockdown restrictions as Pak reports record 40 deaths in single day

Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad, May 6 (PTI) Pakistan's top decision making body on the coronavirus crisis on Wednesday proposed easing in lockdown restrictions from next week, even as the country reported a record 40 deaths due to the COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of fatalities to 526.

The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), in a meeting chaired by Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, proposed easing in lockdown restrictions and the resumption of transport services across the country after May 9.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting on Thursday to mull over the NCOC's proposals.

The meeting, which would be attended by all chief ministers, will take the final decision about easing the lockdown.

Meanwhile, Pakistan reported a record 40 deaths due to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total toll to 526, health officials said on Wednesday.

The Ministry of National Health Services said that Punjab reported 8,420 cases, Sindh 8,189, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 3,499, Balochistan 1,495, Islamabad 485, Gilgit-Baltistan 386 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 76 cases.

The country detected 1,049 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 22,413, it said.

A total of 6,217 patients have recovered. So far 232,582 tests were conducted, including 10,178 in the last 24 hours.

Official sources said the NCOC discussed the issue of allowing public transport and opening up more business ahead of Eid festival which will be celebrated on May 24 or 25 depending on the sighting of the moon.

Among others, it was also expected that the train service may be allowed to begin operation partially from May 10 as Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that initially some 40 trains could be made operational.

But officials said that all provinces opposed the proposal in the NCOC meeting and the final decision will be taken by the Prime Minister in the NCC meeting on Thursday.

Separately, official said that 180 persons out of 209 passengers brought from Dubai to Pakistan were tested positive and shifted to a quarantine centre in Lahore.

Renowned charity worker, Faisal Edhi, who is the chairman of the Edhi Foundation, tweeted that he has recovered from coronavirus. He was tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 21. PTI SH AMS ZH ZH