Sturdy measures to curb COVID


-Punjab closes all tourist spots
-KP bans intercity public transport
-Sindh brings intercity public transport to 50%
-NCOC opens walk-in Vaccination for citizens above 65
-Corona claims 83 more lives; 5,234 new cases reported

From Abid Usman

LAHORE: Due to the recent spike in Coronavirus infections provinces take extra measure to counter the rising infections across the country. Keeping in view the recent spike in COVID-19 cases amid the third wave of the disease, the Punjab government on Friday decided to shut all the tourist spots in the province.
According to a notification issued by the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab, all the tourist spots in the province will remain closed till 11th of April. The decision has been taken to stem the spread of the deadly virus.
It is pertinent to mention here that Punjab had recorded as many as 2,467 new cases of COVID-19 and 73 deaths on 30th of March. According to the provincial health department, the tally of total deaths by Covid-19 in the province had reached 6,317.
Earlier on March 29, in light of the continuing surge in Covid-19 cases, the Punjab government had decided to reimpose a number of restrictions to halt the spread of the virus.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had presided over a meeting to review the worsening Covid situation and decide on whether or not to impose a blanket lockdown in cities having higher Covid-19 positivity rate.
Sources had said the meeting decided to ban wedding ceremonies, including both indoor and outdoor, from April 1. It had further decided that markets and shopping malls across the province would close at 6pm.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government on Friday has banned intercity public transport for two days in the wake of the worsening COVID-19 situation in the province.
According to the secretary transport KP, the intercity public transport service will remain suspended on Saturday and Sunday (April 3 and 4), however, cargo vehicles and those transporting food items will be exempted from this restriction. Public transport operating within the cities will also remain exempted from the ban, the transport department said. The decision came after Pakistan has reported 83 deaths in the last 24 hours by novel coronavirus. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 14,613 today (Friday).
During the period of a day, the total count of active cases was recorded at 56,347 and the positivity rate stood at 10.43 per cent. While, in view of the third Covid-19 wave, the Sindh government ordered on Friday that intercity public transport will operate at 50% passenger capacity in the province.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Transport and Mass Transit, transporters found violating the government-prescribed standard operating procedures (SOPs) will face penalties and fines. The new restrictions on passenger capacity have been brought in to halt the spread of the UK variant of the coronavirus.
Separately, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah presided over a session of the provincial task force on Covid-19 to review the virus situation. He said that the provincial government doesn’t want a complete lockdown but a ban on inter-provincial transport for at least two weeks to stop the transmission of the UK variant from Covid-19 hotspots in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Sindh. “We can not unilaterally shut inter-provincial transport. This should be a national decision,” Murad said.
Also, Senior citizens above 65 years of age can now walk into any designated vaccination centre to get Covid-19 jab, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said on Friday. They can visit any vaccination centre from April 3 (tomorrow) with their CNIC to get themselves vaccinated against the coronavirus after on-spot registration.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar chaired a meeting of the NCOC to take stock of reported surge in COVID cases among children.
“There is no deviation in positivity ratio in children as compared to previous waves statistics,” the NCOC said. During all three waves, it added infection ratio in children aged between 1-10 years remained around 3% of the total cases.
The meeting expressed concern over violation of the government-defined SOPs, including mask wearing and social distancing as well as business closure timings. It, however, expressed sanctification over the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine.
The government purchased one million doses of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine lately, that have been distributed to the provinces, the NCOC said, asking the provincial governments to ensure they achieve their vaccination targets.
While, Coronavirus on Friday has claimed 83 more lives in Pakistan during the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 14,613.
The latest statistics of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) showed the COVID-19 has claimed 83 more lives and 5,234 fresh infections were reported during the period.
During the period of a day, the total count of active cases was recorded at 56,347 and the positivity rate stood at 10.43 per cent.
The health facilities across the country conducted 50,170 coronavirus detection tests, taking the total number of COVID-19 tests to 10,297,544 since the first case was reported.
According to the statistics, 81 patients were declared critical, adding to the total number of patients suffering from sensitive health condition up to 3,384.
Overall 607,205 people have recovered from the virus including 1,931 who have regained their health from COVID-19 during the past 24 hours.