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Pakistan to impose lockdown in major cities as COVID-19 wave continues

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Islamabad: Due to the “extremely serious” COVID-19 situation in Pakistan, the Imran Khan government is mulling to impose lockdown in major cities as the coronavirus trajectory continues.

This was announced by Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Wednesday.

The minister urged the country to understand the gravity of the COVID-19 situation, Dawn reported. “Take care of yourself and your fellow Pakistanis. The situation needs to be taken seriously,” said Umar.

“Further restrictions will need to be imposed. Let me make it clear, the level at which the virus is spreading and our hospitals are filling up […] if we don`t act now, we will have no choice but to close down major cities,” the minister warned, adding that this is their “last chance.

“There is a “margin of a few days” before the major cities could be closed down, Umar said. The Minister also requested the chief ministers of provinces to set aside their political differences and sit down with their health authorities. “We need leadership right now,” Umar said.

Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) too said a lockdown is likely to be imposed in major cities of Pakistan if the resurgence of new Covid-19 cases persists due to the failure of the public to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the government.

In view of the incessant surge in daily COVID-19 cases, authorities in Pakistan`s Karachi have announced the extension of smart lockdowns in three localities till May 5.

Citing a notification by the Sindh home department, Geo News reported that three localities of Karachi`s District Central were put under a “smart” lockdown on Wednesday evening.

According to the notification, the areas to go into lockdown are Gulberg, North Karachi and North Nazimabad. Pakistan is witnessing the third wave of coronavirus.  In the last 24 hours, the country reported 148 new Covid-19 deaths, raising the total death toll to 16,600.

With 5,499 new COVID-19 cases, the total number of cases in the country stands at 772,381. 

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