National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) head and Planning Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday said that the government will have to impose a lockdown in major cities if the current trajectory of coronavirus infections continues in Pakistan.

Speaking to reporters after the NCOC meeting, Umar said that coronavirus situation in Pakistan is “extremely serious”. “Take care of yourself and your fellow Pakistanis. The situation needs to be taken seriously.”

He said that the NCOC has taken a decision on the imposition of more restrictions that would be shared with the provinces, adding that the new restrictions will be announced on Friday. He urged the people to realise the gravity of the situation, saying if the government will have no choice but to shut down the major cities if the virus continued to spread at the current pace.

“This is our last chance.” He said that major cities were not being closed down right now, adding that there was a “margin of a few days”.

Due to an increase in cases, the number of patients visiting hospitals on a daily basis has risen from between 100 to 150 to over 600, he said, adding at least 4,500 patients are in a critical position.

“Last year in June, during the peak of the pandemic, we had approximately 3,400 patients on oxygen. This means there has been a 30pc increase since the first wave of the pandemic.”


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