Pakistan Extends Lockdown for 2 more Weeks to Stem Coronavirus Spread
Pakistan on Wednesday announced a two-week extension in an ongoing lockdown within the wake of rising numbers of coronavirus cases within the country.
“The government has decided to continue the present restrictions on public movement until Pan American Day ,” Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar told a press conference in capital Islamabad after a meeting on dealing with the pandemic.
The lockdown, Asad Umar observed, had significantly added to the government’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus. ” That’s why, the govt has decided to continue the restrictions, apart from the products transportation, for 2 more weeks.”
Islamabad also announced partial resumption of international flights, mainly to bring nearly 2,000 Pakistanis stranded in several countries, from April 4. However, all the domestic flights will remain suspended until further order, consistent with the minister.
Initially, state-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will be allowed to operate 17 flights from Islamabad airport to bring back the stranded Pakistanis from Turkey, U.K., Canada, Azerbaijan, and other countries from April 4 to April 11.
The decision, Umar said, to continue or suspend the international flights would be taken after reviewing the week-long operations.
Minister said the forum will soon meet again to decide whether to relax or increase the restrictions. “Lockdown throughout the country is bearing fruit as number of cases would are much higher if containment steps weren’t taken during a timely manner,” Minister added.
“While we’ve extended the restrictions till Pan American Day , we’ve to recollect to take care of social distancing. The people should also observe self-quarantine,” said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Dr Zafar Mirza, as he took over the press briefing.
“If we make the restrictions sterner then it will yield better results,” he explained, adding: “Several offices are still using biometric for attendance. We strictly advise them against it.”
Speaking of things in Pakistan, Dr Mirza said: “The total number of suspected cases are 17,331 out of which a rise of 1,436 was recorded within the past 24 hours. The surge is high; the typical increase per day is 12%.”
“As of Wednesday, there are a total of 2,049 cases in Pakistan, with an increase of 178 in the past 24 hours,” he said. Azad Jammu and Kashmir have six cases, Baluchistan 158, Gilgit-Baltistan 184, Islamabad 54, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 253, Punjab 708, while 67 in Sindh, he informed the media.
“Total number of individuals who recovered is 82, while 10 are in critical position,” he said. There are over 8,800 people in quarantine and more than 5,000 have been tested out of which 19% have tested positive, with 27 fatalities, he added.