Pakistan to toughen restrictions on social gatherings to control surge in coronavirus cases

Sajjad Hussain
·2-min read

Islamabad, Mar 28 (PTI) Pakistan has decided to impose fresh restrictions on social gatherings from April 5 as the nation continues to witness a surge in the cases of coronavirus, according to an official statement.

Pakistan's coronavirus cases till Sunday stood at 654,591 as 4,767 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), in its meeting headed by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, took the decision of restrictions against gatherings after reviewing the latest pandemic situation.

The top anti-virus body decided to ban all indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies from April 5 onwards in cities and districts where the positivity rate will be above 8 per cent.

But it empowered the provinces to implement restrictions even before the agreed time frame if needed.

The meeting also decided to ban with immediate effect all kinds of indoor and outdoor gatherings, including social, cultural, political, sports events, according to a statement by the NCOC.

“Under the guidelines of the recent session, the NCOC will provide updated hotspot maps to provinces for enforcement of expanded lockdowns with effect from March 29th,” it said.

The restriction came as Pakistan recorded more than 4,000 cases for a third straight day on Sunday, according to the data issued by the ministry of National Health Services.

It further said that 57 more people died in the last 24 hours, taking the COVID-19 toll to 14,215. Some 3,043 patients were in a critical condition, while 595,929 recovered so far. The positivity rate was noted at 10.44 per cent.

Meanwhile, in a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said the third wave of the coronavirus was more dangerous than the first two.

Khan, who is recuperating from the virus, said: 'The third wave is much more intense than the first two. I advise you all to be extremely careful.

“The first thing you should do is wear a mask. It has been proven across the world that wearing a mask dramatically reduces the chances of you contracting coronavirus,” he said.

Khan, along with his wife, tested positive for the virus on last Saturday.

“God has been merciful to me and my wife, but let me tell you, this is a disease that if it gets into your lungs, it is highly dangerous. So I plead to you, please, be careful,' he said. PTI SH RUP IND IND