Amid a decline in the number of coronavirus infections and the national positivity rate, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to lift the ban on interprovincial and intercity public transport from May 16 (tomorrow).

A special session of NCOC was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and co-chaired by National Coordinator Lieutenant General Hamooduz Zaman Khan. PM’s health aide Dr Faisal Sultan also participated in the session while provincial chief secretaries attended the session through video link.

The transport will operate at 50pc capacity, said the NCOC, adding that trains will continue to operate at 70pc capacity.

The NCOC had banned the transport till May 17 ahead of Eid in a bid to curb the number of coronavirus cases.

However, the decision was reviewed owing to a decline in the cases over the Eid holidays.

According to NCOC, the markets will remain open till 8pm from Monday, whereas the offices will also resume normal working hours from May 17 as well. However, they will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity.

The forum urged people to follow the SOPs to defeat the third wave, as it decided to review the restrictions on May 19.

Third Wave Lockdown

Last Saturday, a nine-day shutdown affecting travel and tourist hotspots in a bid to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr came into effect.

READ MORE: What has Punjab govt banned on Eid?

Businesses, hotels and restaurants, as well as markets and parks, will be closed, while public transport between provinces and within cities has been halted. The military has been mobilised to monitor the restrictions.

Mosques, however, will remain open. The government fears that curbs on places of worship could ignite confrontation in the deeply conservative republic. Last week, the country slashed international flights and sealed border crossings with Iran and Afghanistan in the wake of the soaring infections.

It may be noted that the government has warned the public of risks in the coming days. Planning Minister Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, had said that the need for caution was clear. “Need the country to unite in response and achieve once again what we achieved in the first wave, for which we received global praise. Inshallah, we will do it again, together,” he said in a message on Twitter.


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