ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Tuesday announced to lift lockdown in 18 out of 24 districts with a high risk of delta variant of COVID-19 until September 30.
However enhanced restrictions would still continue in the six districts- Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha, Gujrat, and Bannu till September 22.
Addressing a press conference here after chairing the meeting of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), the minister said the lockdown that was imposed in the selected districts would now be lifted from September 16.
Due to the very high risk of COVID in 24 districts, the government had put more restrictions from September 04 to 15 to avoid further spread of delta variant of the pandemic.
He said in the six districts, some relaxations were being given as schools would open from September 16 with 50% attendance. Similarly, the intercity transport would also start running with 50% passenger capacity.
The timing for outdoor restaurants has been extended from 10 pm to 12 am, however indoor dining would be banned, the minister said. The outdoor gathering with a maximum of 400 people has been allowed, however indoor gathering would still be banned in the six districts.
Asad Umar said the pressure of COVID patients in the hospitals was still high as over 5300 intensive care patients were admitted in the hospitals who were either on oxygen or ventilator.
He said during the last few weeks, the demand for oxygen for medical purposes increased by 100% due to the rising number of covid patients but he was confident over sufficient supply of oxygen in the country.
The minister maintained that although the situation was comparatively better now the danger had not subsided therefore he stressed the need for accelerating the vaccination process in the country.
He warned that the areas with a low percentage of vaccination would again be put under lockdown. “We want to completely lift all lockdown as soon as possible so that the situation get normalize in the country,” he said.
He said the government was spending Rs 200 billion on the COVID vaccine and stressed that people should get vaccinated as soon as possible.
The minister informed that after September 30, the unvaccinated people would not be allowed to travel or to enter the shopping malls. Similarly, he said the unvaccinated people would also not be allowed to enter marriage halls, indoor dining, restaurants, or other similar gatherings.
In education institutions, all the staff who had not been completely vaccinated would also not be allowed to continue their work after September 30.
“Our target is to completely vaccinate at least 40% of the eligible population across the country,” he said adding that Islamabad had already met the target as 52% of people of the eligible population had received both doses of the vaccine.
Asad Umar said the way Pakistan received praises from across the world due to its best strategy for tackling the COVID-19 situation should continue unabated and the people should show their responsibility by getting them vaccinated. TF Report