ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), which leads coronavirus mitigation efforts across the country, announced that all business centers, wedding halls, restaurants and shopping malls would shut by 10p.m. from Thursday to curb the spread of the coronavirus, state run Radio Pakistan said.
The NCOC’s decision comes two days after Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, formally announced a second wave of the coronavirus in Pakistan, warning that imposing restrictions once again had become “inevitable.”
According to a government portal, 331,108 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Pakistan so far, and there have been 6,775 deaths.
“Essential services such as medical stores, clinics and hospitals will remain open and public parks have been asked to shut down by 6pm,” the NCOC said.
Pakistan’s minister for planning Asad Umar, who also oversees the country’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts, said on Twitter that the national coronavirus positivity ratio had crossed three percent for the first time after over 70 days on Wednesday.
“NCOC has tightened restrictions on some high risk public activities,” Umar said. “However, the rising spread of the disease can only be controlled if people believe in the need for precautions
After more than 70 days the national covid positivity ratio was higher than 3% yesterday. Ncoc has tightened restrictions on some high risk public activities. However, the rising spread of the disease can only be controlled if people believe in the need for precautions
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) October 29, 2020
On Wednesday Pakistan announced that wearing masks in public places would now be mandatory and directed provincial government to ensure that masks were worn “particularly [in] bazaars, shopping malls, public transport and restaurants.”
“80 percent disease spread and increase positivity ratio in 11 major cities across Pakistan,” a statement from the NCOC statement said.
Local media reported that 4,374 lockdowns had been imposed in 11 cities, including Quetta, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Mirpur, Karachi, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad.
Islamabad’s Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat also issued a notification on Wednesday imposing Section 144 in the federal capital for two months and announcing that anyone visiting a public place without a face mask could be arrested.
In August, the government announced that virtually all sectors in Pakistan shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus would be reopened that month, other than schools and marriage halls, which opened in September. Since then, there has been a slow uptick in infection numbers.