ISLAMABAD / KARACHI:
On Sunday, the National Command and Control Center (NCOC) decided to ban intercity transport on weekends – Saturday and Sunday – as the number of critical Covid-19 patients in the country reached 3,568, the highest that the country has known so far.
The provincial government of Sindh also decided to suspend physical classes for grades 1 to 8 due to the unleashed third wave of the contagious disease which killed at least 81 more people, mainly in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP ) within the last 24 hours.
“Yesterday [April 3], there were 3,568 Covid patients in intensive care in Pakistan. This is the highest number since the inception of Covid, ”said Planning Minister Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, the country’s nerve center for the response to Covid-19.
“The need for rigorous application of SOPs [standard operating procedures] it’s essential. Please take precautions and cooperate with the administration in its enforcement efforts, ”the minister urged in a post on the microblogging site Twitter.
The tweet coincided with an NCOC statement announcing that interprovincial transportation within the country would remain suspended on Saturdays and Sundays starting April 10.
“The restriction will last until April 25. Goods, freight, medical and other emergency services will be exempt from the ban,” the statement read. However, the railways will continue to operate seven days a week with 70% occupancy, he added.
On Friday, a task force on Covid-19 in Sindh province decided to contact the NCOC, requesting a two-week ban on interprovincial transport. “We are not in favor of a foreclosure. We only want a ban on interprovincial transport in order to break the business cycle by restricting the movement of people, ”Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said at the working group meeting.
Sindh’s education department also announced on Sunday the suspension of physical classes in all public and private schools for 15 days across the province as of Tuesday, April 6.
“The decision was made in light of the increase in Covid-19 cases across the province,” Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said on Twitter. Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood also announced that the CNOC will take a decision on Tuesday regarding the suspension of regular educational activities.
“Ministers of Education and Health [of all provinces] will meet at CNOC on Tuesday [tomorrow] decide to further open or close educational institutions.
“The examination situation will also be discussed. Everything that is decided will be a collective decision of the country’s health and education authorities and the NCOC, ”Mahmood said in a social media post.
In view of the third wave of the coronavirus, the government ordered on March 10 the closure of all schools in Covid-19 hotspots for two weeks from March 15. The shutdown was extended in high-risk areas and some districts of the country until April 11. .
According to statistics released by the CNOC on Sunday, the Punjab again recorded the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, followed by the KP. In the past 24 hours, three people have died from Covid-19 in Sindh, 49 in Punjab, 23 in KP, five in Islamabad and one in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The death toll in the country has now reached 14,778. CNOC said the total number of active cases in the country currently stands at 60,072, with at least 5,020 cases registered in the past 24 hours.
According to the NCOC, about 55,605 tests were carried out across the country on April 3, of which 5,020 have tested positive, bringing the total of cases reported so far to 687,908 in the country.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s special assistant for health, Dr Faisal Sultan, said on Sunday that the federal government was improving health facilities in the country following the increase in coronavirus cases.
“The government of Punjab is using all its resources for the treatment of coronavirus patients,” he said addressing the media during his visit to a vaccination center established at the Lahore Exhibition Center.
He praised the government of Punjab and the health department for helping the elderly in vaccination centers in the province. “In accordance with the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the vaccination process is continuing in an efficient and well-organized manner across the country,” he said.
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