ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), which oversees Pakistan's pandemic response, on Thursday announced stricter guidelines to restrict movement and stop the spread of coronavirus ahead of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.
The measures will be in place from May 8 to May 16, with inter-provincial, inter-city, and intra-city public transportation banned from May 8 to May 16 and private vehicles allowed only 50 percent capacity to reduce mobility during the holiday in which a large number of people travel from one city to another to spend the holiday with their loved ones.
All markets, including Eid bazaars, businesses, and shops will remain closed except for those providing essential services such grocery stores and pharmacies.
Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan will be observed on May 10-15.
"NCOC announces 'Stay Home Stay Safe Strategy' for mobility control from 8-16th May 21 including Eid ul Fitr holidays," the agency said in a statement.
NCOC announces ‘Stay Home Stay Safe Strategy’ for mobility control from 8-16th May 21 including Eid ul Fitr holidays pic.twitter.com/6yqo4BnV9r
— NCOC (@OfficialNcoc) April 29, 2021
The NCOC also ordered airlines to cut the number of inbound flights to Pakistan between May 5 and 20.
The government is meanwhile, speeding up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with three special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights carrying a million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine to Pakistan on Thursday.
The first two flights having already landed in Islamabad and a third will arrive around midnight. On Saturday, three aircraft flew one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China to Islamabad.
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s health chief Dr. Faisal Sultan said 78% of 18.7 million coronavirus vaccine doses received and ordered by Pakistan so far had been purchased by the government.
The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has come under fire in recent weeks over its slow vaccine rollout, with one of the main criticisms being that the government was too reliant on donations and gifts of jabs and had not placed purchase orders in time.
Pakistan has so far vaccinated two million of its 220 million population.
Official data showed 5,480 people had tested positive for the coronavirus and 151 had died in the past 24 hours. On Wednesday, Pakistan reported 201 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours — its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll since the pandemic began last February.