ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday put a ban on holding of public gatherings, including political rallies and indoor wedding ceremonies across the country, in a bid to “slow down the second wave of coronavirus”.
The decision regarding closure of schools was deferred for a week and linked to the results after monitoring of cases at educational institutions.
The decisions were taken in a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on COVID-19 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, and attended by ministers and senior officials.
Following the meeting, the prime minister in his televised message to the nation said the ban on public gatherings was meant for public safety in view of a strong resurgence of the coronavirus.
He said the government itself would not be holding any public gathering and the same restriction applied on others as well.
He mentioned that the recent electioneering campaign by the political parties in Gilgit Baltistan resulted in increased number of positive COVID-19 cases.
He said if the cases were recorded spreading from schools, the same would be closed with prolonged winter vacations, and the summer vacations would be reduced to manage the academic calendar.
He said the meeting decided to allow outdoor weddings with guests not exceeding 300 and made it necessary for all to wear masks throughout the event.
About restaurants, he advised the people to prefer places with outdoor seating in order to maintain proper distancing.
The prime minister said the second waves of coronavirus had hit many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom that had started imposing lockdowns.
In Pakistan, he said, the situation remained under control during the first wave, however expressed concern that the cases multiplied four times in the last two weeks with death toll touching 25 a day.
Imran Khan said the the government was constantly monitoring the COVID-19 cases in the provinces, and appealed to the nation to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
He warned that ignoring the SOPs could lead to a situation like in June where the number of coronavirus had increased significantly.
He stressed that the use of face mask in public was the easiest mode to control COVID-19, which would also lessen pressure on hospitals and paramedics dealing with the challenge.
The prime minister said Pakistan earlier emerged successful in the fight against coronavirus due to unified efforts of the nation and the government.
He urged the people to demonstrate the same spirit for the safety of their own health and of their dear ones.
He said the volunteers of Tiger Force would also be engaged to keep a vigil about any violation of SOPs committed by the general public.
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