Pakistan to Seal Cities Across Country to Halt Virus Spread
The Pakistani government announced they would reimpose severe lockdowns in chosen areas of several cities from Monday night, a day after the federal administration told COVID-19 cases could multiply rapidly by the end of July and hit 1.2 million.
New cases have arisen in Pakistan since the government raised lockdowns on May 9, indicating economic stress. It has registered a record number of new infections since the beginning of June, partially due to extended testing.
Of 23,000 regular tests, more than one in five have been positive over the last two weeks. Before the lockdown was raised, the number of positive tests was almost 1 in 10, government statistics reveal.
Pakistan has reported 148,921 cases of COVID-19 and 2,839 deaths so far.
The World Health Organization advised last week that Pakistani authorities reimpose “intermittent lockdowns” of specific areas, stating the country did not meet the WHO’s requirements for removing stipulations.
“A sum of 20 cities throughout Pakistan have been recognized as possessing expected rise in ratio/speed of disease which requires restrictive measures for containment,” a statement by the organization that regulates the national response to the virus on Monday.
However, the rate of daily cases has been overgrowing in the country of 210 million, a point remarked by the World Health Organisation in a message to Pakistani officials last week.
Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out a country-wide lockdown on Saturday. One of the cities that will see new restrictions in the densely populated eastern metropolis of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s largest province Punjab.
A senior official told Reuters several areas of Lahore would be sealed for two weeks, with entry or exit barred. Government-issued protection standards would be executed in markets using paramilitary forces.
Parts of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, as well as Peshawar, will see related measures that provincial and national executives stated, with more cities presumed to pursue suit.
Planning Minister Asad Umar announced cases could double by the end of June to 300,000, and reach 1 million to 1.2 million by the end of July if current courses remained.