Lockdown in Pakistan: NCOC asks provinces to make preparations

Pakistan Army personnel patrolling in Peshawar’s Qissa Khuwani Bazar to ensure the compliance with the anti-epidemic measures announced by the government to control the spread of COVID-19. -APP

ISLAMABAD: Amid the worsening coronavirus situation in the country, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has directed provincial authorities to start preparations for a two-week lockdown in 20 cities from 2/3 May.

The federal government has multiple times hinted that the SOP implementation is weak across the country and a lockdown will have to be imposed in case the situation does not improve.

In the letter, titled ‘Input / Feedback — City Wise Lockdown’, the NCOC stated that a two-week city-wise lockdown in districts/cities with high disease prevalence is tentatively planned with effect from 2/3 May.

“Therefore, you are requested to carry out necessary planning at your end,” read the letter.

The list mentioned 20 cities across Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, where the coronavirus situation is extremely bad.

The cities where the lockdown is being planned include Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Bahawalpur, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Dir Lower, Mardan, Nowshera, Malakand, Charsadda, Swat, Swabi, Muzaffarabad, Sudhnuti, Poonch and Bagh.

The COVID-19 apex body has directed the local administration to forward their input for necessary action.

Over 200 succumb to virus in a day

Pakistan on Wednesday reported 201 new fatalities from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, which is the highest single-day death toll recorded since the pandemic started last year.

This is the first time coronavirus deaths in the country have crossed the 200-mark.

According to the official data from the NCOC, which synergises government efforts against COVID-19, the death toll in the country reached 17,329 with the latest surge.

Pakistan conducted 49,101 tests for coronavirus, out of which 5,292 returned positive. The total tally of coronavirus cases stands at 810,231 country-wide with the highest cases reported in Punjab so far.

The country’s positivity rate has risen to 10.77%, with 88,207 active cases, while the number of recoveries nationwide has reached 704,494 so far.

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