Pakistan reimposes restrictions as COVID-19 cases spike

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ISLAMABAD

Pakistan on Monday reimposed a complete ban on gatherings across the country, including the capital Islamabad, to curb the spread of the coronavirus, an official said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the National Command and Operations Center, a government agency that deals with the anti-virus strategy, on Sunday as the country is facing a third wave of the virus.

“Based on continuing increase in disease spread & fast pace at which hospital fill up is taking place, particularly critical covid patients, decided to further tighten restrictions,” Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar tweeted.

The government banned all social, cultural, political, sports, and other events including indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies till April 5.

Health authorities also warned that the third wave of the virus is more dangerous than earlier waves and urged the public to follow the measures and wear masks.

“Covid-19 current wave with potential to be worse than the first one in the summer of 2020. NO time for complacency or visiting crowded places of any kind. Wear masks and educate those around you,” said Faisal Sultan, the premier’s adviser on health services.

On Sunday evening, Prime Minister Imran Khan said hospitals are filling and people are being put on ventilators or oxygen.

“The third wave is much more intense than the first two. I advise you all to be extremely careful,” Khan said in a televised statement aired on state-run Pakistan Television,

Khan, who contracted the coronavirus last week, is, however, feeling better now.

“PM Imran Khan has made steady clinical recovery from Covid and his lab parameters have remained stable.

“He has been advised that he may resume work and build up his work routine over the next few days. This is in line with national and int’l guidelines,” Sultan tweeted.

On Sunday, Pakistan reported 4,767 cases, the highest daily toll since July 2020. The country on Monday announced 4,525 infections in the last 24 hours.

The new cases raised the nationwide caseload to 659,116 while fatalities reached 14,256 after 41 more deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data.

The recovery ratio also dropped to 90.8% from 95% during March. So far, 598,197 people have recovered from the infection.

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