— Faraz says Opp behaving irresponsibly by flouting Covid-19 SOPs in gatherings
–Coronavirus continues infection spree with 2,547 fresh cases
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar has said that legal action will be taken against the opposition parties if they do not abide by the rules and regulation set by the government for combating Covid-19 pandemic.
Talking to a private television channel, Asad Umar, who also heads the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC), said the decision taken by the government to protect people from the second wave of threatening virus, will be implemented without discrimination and legal action would be taken if anyone is found organising public gatherings and gatherings.
Commenting on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, he said that a convicted person is inciting the party workers and masses against the state institutions. Nawaz, he said, is enjoying his stay in London, adding that the former premier should follow the court orders and return to the homeland at the earliest. “There are clear orders to bring the convict back to Pakistan,” he commented.
The suggestions regarding smart lockdown, the federal minister said, was given in October but the Sindh government had opposed the proposals then. “The orders given by the courts containing the second wave of the virus in the country, have been dispatched to chief secretaries for applying in their respective jurisdictions,” he said.
In the same press conference, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed Shibli Faraz said that the opposition parties are behaving irresponsibly by not adopting the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in their public gatherings to contain the coronavirus.
The information minister said that opposition did not follow the SOPs during their public gathering at Mansehra which caused serious concerns regarding the spread of Covid-19.
On Tuesday, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the president of the PDM, said that the alliance has rejected the government’s decision to suspend rallies and public gatherings on the “pretext” of Covid-19. “This [restriction on rallies] has been imposed after the G-B elections. Until a day before yesterday, the ruling party was itself holding rallies,” he added.
His comments come after Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced a ban on public political rallies, fearing hospitals will be overwhelmed as they were in June if people do not act responsibly.
Meanwhile, the NCOC said that Pakistan recorded another one-day highest Covid-19 infection toll since July 13 with 2,547 cases on Thursday.
According to the NCOC, as many as 18 more fatalities were also recorded, taking the country’s death toll to 7,248. About 36,899 tests were conducted across the country in the last 24 hours, of which 2,547 came out positive, taking the country’s tally for cases so far reported to 365,927. The positivity rate increased up to 6.9 per cent during the last 24 hours.
The number of active coronavirus cases in Pakistan reached 32,000. As per the official data, Punjab is leading with the greatest number of active cases, 13,754, followed by Sindh with 11,960 cases, Islamabad with 6,132, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with 3,025, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) with 947, Balochistan with 841 and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has 240 active cases.
As for the death toll, a total of 2,764 deaths have occurred in Sindh, 2,519 in Punjab, 1,138 in KP, 265 in Islamabad, 157 in Balochistan, 132 in AJK and 93 deaths have been reported from GB.
The NCOC stated that of the 18 fatalities reported on November 18, four were reported from Sindh, 10 from Punjab, two from Islamabad and one each from Balochistan and AJK.
About 886 patients also recovered from the deadly virus in the past 24 hours, taking the number of total recoveries recorded in Pakistan so far to 326,674.
According to NCOC, of the total recoveries, 158,559 have been recorded in Sindh, 112,284 in Punjab, 43,052 in KP, 25,278 in Islamabad, 16,582 in Balochistan, 5,690 in AJK and 4,482 in GB.
About 234 ventilators are occupied across Pakistan out of the total 1,806 ventilators allocated for Covid-19 patients.
Pakistan has so far conducted about 5,055,382 Covid-19 tests. There are about 794 hospitals with Covid-19 facilities with around 2,025 patients admitted across the country.
A total of 36,899 tests were conducted across the country during this period. 326,674 people have recovered from the deadly disease while 5,055,382 samples have been tested thus far.
In Balochistan, 53 new cases including 11 from educational institutions were reported during the last 24 hours. The provincial health department said on Thursday that the positivity rate of Covid-19 is 3 per cent in the province, whereas the recovery rate is 96 per cent. A total of 877 infections have been reported from educational institutions so far.
In Rawalpindi, the district administration sealed five virus hotspots for 10 days after recording an unusual hike in Covid-19 cases. Markets, shopping malls, restaurants, offices and public transport will remain closed in the coronavirus hotspot areas including Sector C, Phase 1, DHA, Gulshan Abad, Street 10 Hali Road, Block B4 Muslim Town and Bahria Town, Phase-III.
In Karachi, four more cops have been infected by the novel coronavirus. The four police officials posted at Mubeena Town police station contracted Covid-19, the police department said in a statement. Infected policemen have quarantined them at their homes.
The tally of overall infected police officers and other personnel has been 3435, while 3378 policemen have been recuperated and returned to their homes, police said. Nineteen policemen including officers died while performing duty during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to police.
“Presently 38 officers and personnel have been under medical treatment,” the department stated.