Provinces asked to ensure SOPs during lockdown

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-Tourist points across country to remain closed from 8th to 16th
-Shopping malls, markets, hotels and restaurants will also be closed
-118 more fall prey to deadly virus

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday directed the provincial governments to use all resources and ensure strict implementation of Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) during the lockdown.
A meeting of the NCOC was held with Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar and Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan in the chair in Islamabad to discuss the overall COVID-19 situation in the country. The meeting decided that tourism points all across the country will remain closed from 8th to 16th May. All travel nodes leading to tourist/picnic spots will also remain closed.
All routes to the tourist spots will be closed including northern areas, Seaview and other coastal areas, according to NCOC. Shopping malls, markets, hotels and restaurants will also be closed including the hotels and restaurants located in the surroundings of picnic places.
However, the restrictions will not be applied to food services, grocery, petrol pumps, bakeries, medical stores and other shops of essential commodities. Groceries shops, Bakeries and Sweet shops are allowed to remain open on daily basis till 06:00 pm for the duration from 8 to16 May 21. Tandoors and milk shops will remain open 24 /7 with immediate effect.
Takeaways are allowed 24/7 with immediate effect.
E-Commerce (Home Delivery), Utility Services (Electricity, Natural Gas, Internet, Cellular Network, Telecom) and Media are allowed 24/7 operation with immediate effect. On the other hand, The coronavirus claimed 118 more lives nationwide over the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 18,915 on Sunday.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 3,785 new infections were registered after testing 40,736 samples. The positivity rate was recorded at 9.29 percent, it said.
The total caseload climbed to 858,026 with the addition of new cases. 752,712 people have recovered from the disease.
Whereas, the number of Covid-19 patients in critical care across the country stands at 4,903.
Overall 757,281 people have recovered from the pandemic while 12,190,671 total tests have been conducted since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Since the outbreak, Punjab reported 317,972 cases, Sindh 291,668, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 123,842, Islamabad 77,974, Balochistan 23,324, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 17,866 and Gilgit-Baltistan 5,380.
In view of rising cases, the Expo Centre in Karachi was reopened for a mass vaccination drive.
The vaccination centre is said to be the largest in the country, where an estimated 30,000 people could be inoculated in a day with round-the-clock service offered to visitors registered for the jabs.
According to an official, some 400-strong workforce of the provincial health department comprising doctors, physicians, healthcare workers and volunteers would be serving at the centre.
On the other hand, free jabs are being inoculated to the registered people with the NCOC portal at private medical facilities in Karachi.
In December, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho hinted at turning the Karachi Expo Centre into a coronavirus vaccination centre. She had also visited the centre to review the proposal and get a briefing from the experts about the possibility of the plan.