Pak suspends political rallies to prevent spread of coronavirus

Sajjad Hussain
·2-min read

Islamabad, Nov 16 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced a temporary ban on political rallies and big gatherings to prevent the second wave of the coronavirus from wreaking havoc in the country but emphasised that businesses would not be closed.

He urged the countrymen to follow coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs), warning that authorities have observed that infections in Pakistan have quadrupled over the past 10 days.

Khan's remarks came as he chaired the National Coordination Committee (NCC), Pakistan’s top decision-making body on COVID-19.

'So we have decided to cancel our political rallies and urge all others to stop political gathering,” he said.

It was decided that marriage halls would be allowed to organise outdoor wedding events and limit the gatherings to 300 guests.

The businesses would not be closed, he said.

Khan said the decision about education institutions would be taken next week after carefully evaluating the situation.

“If we feel that the disease is spreading due to educational activities, we will close down schools by giving extended winter vacations and make up the deficiency by reducing summer vacations,” he said.

He said the restaurant would remain open but would be encouraged to offer outdoor services.

'We reviewed the rising cases of the COVID-19 and the second wave — which is being experienced in the entire world, especially Europe and America, where cases are rising rapidly and even more than they were before,' Khan said.

“We need to slow down the spread so that we can cope with the disease,” he said.

His announcement came as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country jumped to 359,032. Pakistan has reported 7,160 coronavirus-related deaths so far.

The government already announced not to introduce widespread lockdowns or shut down the economy. PTI SH NSA