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Friday Apr 23 2021
Web Desk

Pakistan bans outdoor dining as coronavirus cases surge

Web Desk
Customers dine at outdoor restaurants at Kohsar Market in Islamabad, Pakistan. — Reuters/File

  • Office timings restricted to 2pm with 50% work from home policy.
  • Schools to be closed in cities where positivity ratio is above 5%.
  • Indoor gyms have also been ordered to close down.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday announced fresh restrictions, as the third wave of the virus intensifies in Pakistan and other parts of the world. 

The NCOC placed a ban on outdoor dining in restaurants and has said schools will be closed in cities where the coronavirus positivity ratio is above 5%. 

Office timings have been restricted to 2pm, with 50% work from home policy in place at both government and private offices. 

Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar, briefing the media about decisions taken by the National Coordination Committee (NCC) to curb the spread of coronavirus, said a comprehensive plan will be prepared in consultation with provinces in case lockdowns become necessary in certain cities.

The federal minister said indoor dining was already banned in the country; however, now, outdoor dining is also being prohibited till Eid — and only takeaways will be permitted.

Indoor gyms have also been ordered to close down under the new restrictions.

“All schools will be closed in cities where the positivity ratio is above 5% till Eid. Classes 9-12 will also not be held in-person,” he said.

Umar said markets will be closed by 6pm except for essential services and a list of businesses that are allowed to operate will be released so that there is no confusion. 

The federal minister said that a decision has also been taken to restrict office timings till 2pm so that people can do Eid shopping easily within the time limits set by the government.

"The 50% work from home policy will continue," he added.

He also urged masses to not wait for the last three days of Ramadan to shop for Eid so that marketplaces do not become crowded. 

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan is enduring another tough week as the country reported 144 new coronavirus deaths, raising the total death tally to 16,842 nationwide.

According to the latest data by the National Command and Operation Centre on its official web portal, 5,870 new coronavirus cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

At least 53,818 coronavirus tests were conducted across the country in the last 24 hours, out of which 5,870 came back positive.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus positivity rate in Pakistan stood at 10.90% with 84,976 active cases across the country.

In addition to this, 682,290 people have recovered from the virus in the country so far.