COVID-19: Pakistan to ease restrictions 1 day early

pakistan covid vaccine
A man receives a dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Karachi, Pakistan. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday in view of the significant improvement in COVID-19 situation in the country revised its earlier guidelines and announced to ease restrictions from Sunday, May 16 a day earlier than the schedule date of May 17.

Pakistan that remained under strict lockdown since May 8, saw on Saturday a steady decline of COVID-19 cases, attributed largely to the lockdown and the paced up vaccination drive and the NCOC in a special meeting convened on Saturday announced that public transport, both the inter-city and the intra-city would resume service from Sunday instead of the previously announced date of May 17.

Besides, offices would also resume work, though with 50 per cent attendance and under all the prescribed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), it further announced.

Markets and businesses are also allowed to remain open till 8 p.m. observing the SOPs while trains with 70 per cent passengers will be back on track, it announced.

This is for the first time since March 9, 2021 when 1,786 new coronavirus cases were reported, that less than 2,000 (1,531) cases have been recorded in the last twenty-four hours, the NCOC special meeting chaired by Minister for Special Initiative Asad Umar observed.

The positivity has also come down to 5.01 per cent from 8.19 per cent a day earlier, it further noted.

According to the statistics 83 people died during the last twenty-four hours taking the total number of deaths to 19,467 while the tally of cases stood at 874,751.

Pakistan on Saturday reported ‘complete’ vaccination—administration of two doses— of around one million people, 964,227 persons to be exact, as the vaccination cetnres resumed work after two Eid-al-Fitr holidays of Thursday and Friday.

Second dose

These centres will continue to administer jabs according to the pre-Ramadan schedule i.e. from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. In total, 3.836 million doses of vaccines have been used in the country, according to the NCOC. Asad Umar in a tweet disclosed that he got administered his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday.

“I got my 2nd dose of vaccination today. Please do not delay your 2nd dose”, said the minister in his online message to the public.

The minister was of the view that generally Pakistani’s had been good about getting the 2nd dose on time with more than 80 per cent doing so. However, he said in the last few days before Eid there was a drop in the number of people coming for the 2nd dose

Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in a video message said Pakistani people had displayed a tremendous sense of responsibility by following the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures.

Pakistan’s Army, the NCOC, police and other institutions have done a commendable job in this regard, said the minister in his video message on Twitter while acknowledging all the stakeholders’ role and particularly the cooperation of the public.