Asad Umar calls to accelerate vaccine drive

National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Chairman Asad Umar has announced that the government is reopening schools in five districts of Punjab and one district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from September 16 that were closed as fourth wave of coronavirus intensified.

Asad announced on Tuesday that the NCOC had earlier placed strict restrictions on 24 districts throughout the country. Now the restrictions will remain enforced in just six districts.

These six districts are; Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujrat, Sargodha and Bannu where restriction will remain enforced untill September 22, he added.

Asad, who is also Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives, said that even in these districts, the government has decided to ease restrictions.

The government has allowed inter-city transport that was earlier banned. Now, buses can commute on inter-city rotes with 50 percent capacity,” he added.

Similarly, schools in these six districts will resume on-campus classes from September 16, with 50 percent attendance, he continued.

Asad said that outdoor dining in these districts was allowed till 10pm. “We have extended the time for outdoor dining till midnight. Indoor dining at restaurants, however, will remain banned,” he clarified.

He said amusement parks, recreational spots and parks will remain open. Only vaccinated persons will be allowed to visit amusement parks, he added.

The NCOC chief announced that the government was allowing outdoor activities but limiting it to 400 persons only.

“However, indoor gatherings will continue to remain banned,” he said.

The minister announced that COVID-19 restrictions imposed in districts other than these six will continue to remain in force till September 30.

“We have witnessed that the fourth wave is decreasing in intensity as time passes. It is vital that we see an increase in the vaccination process. As you know, we had set huge targets in big cities, to vaccinate fully 40 percent of population of 15 years and above,” he said.

The only way to get rid of these restrictions is to get vaccinated. However, he ruled out the government imposing any restrictions on businesses in the near future.

“We won’t be placing restrictions on businesses. However, restrictions will be imposed on the individual who does not get himself vaccinated,” he added.


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