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NCOC meeting introduces new Covid-19 restrictions across country

A new set of restrictions will be in place in the various part of the country for the next seven days in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it emerged after the National Command and Operation Centre meeting held on Friday.

The NCOC meeting — headed by Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar — gave a briefing to Prime Minister Imran Khan about the new restrictions.

In a notification, the NCOC said the restrictions would be applicable from Sept 4 to 12 in 15 districts of Punjab; Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Khushab, Mianwali, Bhakkar, Khanewal, Multan, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan; eight districts of KP; Peshawar, Swabi, Malakand, Swat, Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra and Dera Ismail Khan; and Islamabad.

According to the NCOC, all indoor and outdoor gatherings and events have been banned in the city. However, only outdoor wedding events are allowed to be organised with a maximum of 300 guests.

In addition to this, intercity public transport has been restricted in the cities having a high percentage of coronavirus cases. Indoor gyms will also remain closed.

According to details shared by Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, the fresh restrictions in the federal capital are being notified in the wake of increasing pressure on hospitals. They will remain in place for a period of nine days from September 4 to 12.

Hamza Shafqaat shared that schools, indoor gyms and inter-city transport will remain closed while all indoor and outdoor gatherings have also been banned in the federal capital.

Meanwhile, the provincial government has decided to close schools again from Monday for six days due to the worsening situation of coronavirus, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas announced on Twitter Friday.

“All Public & Private Schools of Punjab to be closed from September 6th to September 11th, 2021 due to Covid 19 conditions,” the minister tweeted.

Murad Raas urged everyone to adhere to Covid-19 SOPs. “Please stay home and stay safe. Protect yourself and your families,” he wrote.

The educational institutes in Punjab were opened in August following summer vacations after the National Command and Operation Centre okayed the resumption of in-person classes.

Meanwhile, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat announced that the increasing Covid-19 cases have increased the pressure on hospitals, therefore, new restrictions had to be imposed.

The DC took to Twitter to announce the enforcement of restrictions in Islamabad that begin from September 4 and will remain in place till September 12, 2021.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Covid-19 graph has been showing a declining trend as the country has mostly been recording less than 4,000 daily infections all of this week.

The South Asian country registered 3,787 more coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours after 59,745 tests were taken, taking the cumulative caseload to 1,171,578, the NCOC’s data showed Friday morning.

The number of active coronavirus cases, too, have been declining for the last three days. The active cases fell to 90,076 Friday.

The positivity rate was recorded at 6.33 percent.

With 57 more deaths, the death toll crossed the 26,000-mark and now stands at 26,035, according to the NCOC stats.

The country’s daily recoveries continue to outnumber the daily new cases. Over 6,595 recoveries in the last 24 hours took the number of Pakistan’s cumulative recoveries to 1,055,467.

Pakistan is reporting 3,911 new infections on average each day, 67 percent of the peak — the highest daily average reported on June 17.

The country has administered at least 58,156,714 doses of vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 13.4 percent of the country’s population.

During the last week reported, Pakistan averaged about 1,019,949 doses administered each day. At that rate, it will take a further 43 days to administer enough doses for another 10 percent of the population.

Earlier this week, the NCOC had revised its Covid-19 vaccination guidelines for citizens below the age of 18.

“The general public age group for vaccination has been lowered to 17 years,” the NCOC said, adding that the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to those who are below 18 years of age.

The statement added that immunocompromised individuals between 12 to 17 years of age will also be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine.

However, they will currently need to show their medical documents as proof as the vaccination drive has only been opened to persons above 17 years of age for now.

The National Health Services ministry spokesperson, Sajid Shah, had said at the time that individuals over 17 years would have to get one dose by Sept 15 and be fully vaccinated by Oct 15 otherwise they would not be allowed to enter educational institutions.

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