Asad Umar and Dr Faisal Sultan
NCOC head Asad Umar and SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan addressing a press conference.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Monday announced new restrictions in major cities of Pakistan as Covid-19 cases started rising in the country.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, he said that the decision was taken after the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He said that the new restrictions will come into effect from Aug 3 and will remain in place until Aug 31. 

In Punjab, restrictions will be imposed in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Multan; in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar and Abbottabad will have the new restrictions. 

In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, restrictions will be imposed in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur, while in Gilgit-Baltistan, the new rules will apply to Gilgit and Skardu.

In Sindh, lockdowns are already in place in Karachi and Hyderabad, but after August 8, the NCOC’s new curbs will also apply, Asad said. 

“Sindh will decide the new course of action regarding restrictions in the province after August 8. If Sindh decides to relax its restrictions after August 8, then the new curbs announced by the NCOC today will come into effect,” he added.

According to him, all commercial activities would be suspended by 8pm instead of 10pm, while indoor dining would remain banned. Outdoor dining would be allowed until 10pm instead of 12 midnight, while takeaway and home delivery services from restaurants would be allowed 24 hours a day. 

Asad announced that public transport will operate with 50 percent capacity to avoid crowding inside vehicles.

Shops and markets would remain closed twice a week, he said, adding that provincial governments will decide about the safe days.

He said that offices would continue to operate on a 50 percent capacity and appealed to the masses to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible.

THE MEETING: Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned a meeting on coronavirus as the pandemic resurged with more than 8 percent positivity ratio being reported in the last two days.

The situation worsened further in the country after Eid despite multiple warnings from the health authorities for the implementation of government-mandated safety protocols.

The meeting discussed the surge in coronavirus positive cases and deliberated upon measures to contain the spread of the Delta variant of virus in the country.

The PM was briefed about the lockdown in Sindh imposed since July 31 after a sharp spike in infections. The federal ministers have strongly objected to the restrictions in the province, saying it will hurt the economic progress that has been achieved so far.


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