Islamabad, October 11
Pakistan has imposed mini smart lockdowns in several cities after a surge in the COVID-19 positivity rate, a senior minister said on Sunday, amid fears of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
On Sunday, Pakistan reported 666 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections to 318,932, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.
Minister for Planning Asad Umar in a post on Twitter said mini lockdowns have been imposed in some cities after “positivity rate crossed 2 per cent after remaining below 2 per cent for six weeks”.
Positivity rate is the percentage of positive results out of the total number of tests sampled.
Mini smart lockdowns have been imposed in Karachi, Islamabad and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“Instructions have been issued to administrations across the country to ensure that precautionary measures are followed. But like in the past, success is impossible without the cooperation of the people,” he said in the tweet.
Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood also asked people to follow guidelines and avoid big gatherings.
“Large public gatherings must not take place. These alone can unleash a second wave,” he said.
According to the health ministry, Punjab province on Sunday confirmed 203 new COVID-19 cases. It was for the first time since August 15 that Punjab recorded more than 200 cases.
Sindh reported 140,131 cases, Punjab 100,687, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 38,329, Islamabad 17,296, Balochistan 15,520, Gilgit-Baltistan 3,924 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 3,045 cases.
The National Command and Control Centre (NCOC), the nerve centre to synergise and articulate unified national effort against COVID-19, on Thursday imposed restrictions on large-scale public gatherings in marriage halls after rise in the COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.
The restrictions have come ahead of a big rally announced by the opposition parties, under the banner Pakistan Democratic Movement, on October 16 at Gujranwala in Punjab province against the Imran Khan-led government.
However, the Opposition leaders have rejected the call to avoid big rallies.
“Some weeks ago this government was taking credit for controlling the coronavirus but suddenly it started saying that it was getting out of control,” Rana Sanaullah of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz earlier had said. — PTI