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Government expands Covid-19 restrictions to more cities

ISLAMABAD: The government on Sunday extended stricter coronavirus-related restrictions to 27 more cities, including Islamabad, amid rising pressure on the already fragile healthcare regime.

Coming into force from September 1, the new set of restrictions include the closure of amusement parks, shrines, gyms and cinemas, and a ban on indoor ceremonies and dining at restaurants, according to a statement by the National Command and Operations Centre.

All businesses — except for essential services — will end at 8:00 pm and remain closed for two days a week.

Educational institutions across the country will remain open for three days a week with 50 percent attendance.

Meanwhile, trains have been allowed to operate at a 70 percent capacity, the new guidelines suggested.

The body will review the restrictions on September 13.

The decisions, the NCOC said, were taken in view of the growing number of Covid-19 infections and the ensuing pressure on the healthcare apparatus. Previously, these guidelines were only applicable to 13 cities, including Lahore.

Pakistan is currently experiencing a fourth wave of the disease, logging 3,909 fresh cases and 69 deaths over the past 24 hours, the Ministry of National Health Services said.

The country has been recording daily cases between 3,000 and 4,000 for the past several weeks, putting pressure on the already over-burdened hospitals, especially in the big cities.

Pakistan has so far administered over 53 million doses of coronavirus vaccines.

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