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Covid-19 in Pakistan: Govt to lift restrictions from Monday as cases continue to decline

AFP
Strict implementation of guidelines mandated in all sectors to prevent another coronavirus wave
by TR Pakistan

The numbers: As of Friday afternoon, the total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has reached 282,645, with 6,052 deaths and 258,099 recoveries. The coronavirus cases in Sindh are 122,759, whereas Punjab has reported 94,040 cases. The tally has reached 34,432 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 11,821 in Balochistan, and 15,182 in Islamabad Capital Territory. Gilgit Baltistan has reported 2,287 cases and Azad Jammu & Kashmir 2,124 cases so far.

Lockdowns: With the numbers declining, the National Coordination Committee will be issuing new guidelines for lockdowns and other preventative measures. The Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that most of the restrictions on business and movement will be lifted on August 10. However, this will require a strict implementation of the standard operating protocols (SOPs) issued by the government. To prevent another wave of coronavirus cases in the country, the tracing, testing and quarantine (TTQ) policy  will remain in place as a time-table for the industries to start working is implemented gradually.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: The number of coronavirus cases in KPK has dropped significantly, resulting in a lower number of occupied beds in hospitals. Schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have opened for teaching staff and administrative purposes. The public and private school administrations have been advised to make preparations for the opening schools for students next month, according to government guidelines. The schools must ensure the following of SOPs and preventative measures for students within this time. Students will be allowed to attend school from a tentative date of September 15, in limited numbers and with limited teaching staff, while violations of the SOPs will result in immediate closure.

 Punjab: In Punjab, industries such as construction have been allowed to run normally 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Large-scale industries like export-oriented textile mills, have been working without any time restrictions for a few months whereas the retail shops and markets in the province will follow previously declared timings. All industries and businesses must follow the precautionary guidelines issued by the government. Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas also announced that schools will be reopened tentatively from September 15, if covid-19 situation in Punjab remains manageable.

 Sindh: Sindh remains the most hard-hit province from the coronavirus outbreak. In the past 24 hours, 14 deaths have been recorded resulting in a total death toll of 2,245. The Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that 213 cases out of the 357 cases (59.7%) reported  in Sindh in the past 24 hours, have originated from Karachi. Government officials also announced that while the number of patients in the province is declining, citizens must follow precautionary measures. He also stated that the schools will not be allowed to reopen on August 15.

 Balochistan: In Balochistan, the government has extended the smart lockdown for 15 more days. Markets, businesses and shopping malls continue to operate between 7 am to 9 pm while pharmacies, bakeries and tandoors are allowed to open 24 hours a day. On the other hand, the data on reported covid-19 cases in Balochistan is being questioned as experts believe that many cases and the number of deaths are being underreported in official numbers.

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