–Coronavirus kills another 16, infects 905; 491 micro smart lockdowns imposed across Punjab
ISLAMABAD: After a gap of 70 days, the country saw its positivity rate crossing the 3 percent threshold, said Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar on Thursday, appealing to the public to follow the government issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) amid the deteriorating situation of the pandemic.
Asad, who also supervises Covid-19 strategy, said in a tweet, “After more than 70 days the national Covid positivity ratio was higher than 3% yesterday.”
He said that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has tightened restrictions on some high-risk public activities but the rising spread of the disease can only be controlled if people believe in the need for precautions.
The coronavirus seems to be gradually rearing its ugly head again across the country as 908 fresh cases of the deadly disease emerged over the past 24 hours, said the NCOC on Thursday.
According to the NCOC, the total number of confirmed patients of Covid-19 has risen to 331,108. Sixteen people succumbed to the infection during the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 6,775.
As many as 29,449 samples were tested for the coronavirus. There are a total of 11,695 active cases of Covid-19 as 312,638 out of the total confirmed patients have recuperated. A total of 897 patients are under treatment in hospitals across the country and 95 of them are on ventilators.
So far, Sindh has reported 144,765 cases, followed by Punjab that has reported 103,587 cases while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) reported 39,277, Balochistan 15,876, Islamabad 19,454, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) 4,211 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 3,938.
Meanwhile, authorities in Punjab have imposed 491 micro smart lockdowns in the province, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.
Punjab, which has the second-highest tally of infections after Sindh in the country, has imposed 491 micro smart lockdowns across the province, of which 435 are in Lahore alone, according to official documents.
In Gujrat, there are 29 “micro smart lockdowns”, three in Hafizabad, two in Jhang, eight in Jhelum, three in Kasur, six in Khanewal, and five in Khushab. While there are a total of 671 infected people in the lockdown areas.
With an uptick in those sickened by the deadly virus, the province has also ordered businesses and commercial activities to shut down at 10:00pm in Lahore, Multan, and Rawalpindi. However, medical stores, pharmacies, tandoors, printing press, call centers, and takeaway from restaurants have been exempted from the new timings. Separately, public parks will close at 6:00pm.
In response, the Lahore Restaurants Unity Association has reacted strongly to the provincial government forcing shut restaurants at 10:00pm.
In a statement issued by its president, Aamer Rafique Qureshi, the association said that most restaurants make money at night. “By reducing operating time for restaurants would increase rush,” he said, “This can lead to a further increase in Covid-19 cases.” He added that due to the outbreak 40 per cent of the restaurants had already closed permanently in Lahore.