KARACHI: The local city administration of Karachi has imposed smart lockdowns in four neighbourhoods in the city in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. 

Entry and exit points of Gulberg Town, North Nazimabad, Liaquatabad and North Karachi have been sealed. People have been advised to refrain from leaving their houses unless necessary. According to a notification issued by the district administration, the lockdown will be imposed immediately and will stay in place till May 8.

People not wearing masks will be fined. Other directives issued by the government are; gatherings of more than three people not allowed in public, ban imposed on private gatherings at houses, whereas utilities to remain open as per routine while business and malls to remain closed.

Earlier this week, a smart lockdown was imposed in Keamari’s Jungle Shah Colony and Mauripur Road, along with Site’s Metroville, Qasba Colony, and Islam Nagar as well.

A smart lockdown has been imposed in 17 areas in Hyderabad as well. Earlier this week, Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar said that the coronavirus infection rate in Karachi and Hyderabad has increased to 13% and 14%.

Pakistan has reported 5,611 new covid-19 cases and 118 deaths in the last 24 hours. The toll has now reached 17,117.

Keeping in mind the current situation, NCOC is considering the enforcement of a lockdown in cities with high positivity rates, according to a statement released on Saturday.

The statement follows an NCOC session held earlier today, with Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in the chair. According to the NCOC statement, in light of increasing coronavirus cases, the forum “deliberated upon proposed lockdowns in high disease prevalence cities”.

The statement made no mention of what positivity ratio the forum considers high enough to warrant a lockdown. The NCOC clarified that talks would be held with stakeholders before a lockdown is imposed.

The restrictions, if enforced, would include the closure of markets, malls, less essential services, a ban on intercity public transport, and a complete closure of educational institutions.


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