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Is COVID-19 situation worsening in Pakistan?

The situation seems to be worsening as the NCOC shares the latest data. 79% of ventilators in Gujranwala, 69% in Multan and 67% in Lahore are occupied. Educational institutes have been closed till May 23. Will the situation deteriorate?

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The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has reviewed the countrywide situation on coronavirus and expressed its concern over the violation of the government’s mandated standard operating procedures (SOPs) in several cities.

According to a notification issued in this regard, the NCOC meeting was attended by all the provincial chief secretaries.

During the meeting, it was decided that until the end of the Eid holidays (May 16), a complete lockdown will continue to be imposed across the country to curb the spread of the virus.

However, fruit and vegetable shops, bakeries, meat shops, and petrol pumps will also remain open.

In the statement, the NCOC further said that grocery and medical stores, along with vaccination centres, will also remain open during the holiday period. An exception has also been granted to media houses and call centres of internet and cellular networks to operate per usual.

The NCOC reiterated that all shopping malls and markets will continue to remain closed until May 16. All recreational places and parks will also remain closed and if someone tries to enter the premises, they will be sent home.

All inter-provincial, intra-and-inter-city public transport will be banned throughout the designated lockdown period, the NCOC said, adding that private vehicles, taxis, and rickshaws will be allowed to operate on a 50 % capacity.

According to the notification, all bookings made at hotels, resorts, and restaurants have been duly cancelled in line with the orders of the government.

Educational institutions to remain closed

Notably, the NOCO announced on Saturday all educational institutions — schools, colleges, universities, and others — will remain closed till May 23.

The NCOC said a meeting to review the decision would be held on May 18 and the decision to reopen the educational institutions would be taken after taking into account the coronavirus situation at the time.

The decision came after NCOC held a session today to review the coronavirus situation in the country.

The government has in the past few days tightened restrictions already imposed in light of the coronavirus situation, as the country continues to register thousands of COVID-19 cases daily, with hundreds dying from the infection every day.

Read more: Is government solely relying on gifts and donations for COVID-19 vaccines?

Amid the worsening situation, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, on April 27, had announced that as per NCOC’s recommendations, all board exams have been postponed till June 15.

Mehmood said that from April 18 (when the last meeting of the education ministry was held) until now, the number of coronavirus cases has rapidly risen, therefore, the government has decided to postpone all exams until June 15.

He said the country seems to be headed towards a complete lockdown in areas witnessing particularly high positivity ratios. “Exams of 9, 10, 11 and 12, which were supposed to begin from the end of May, have been delayed further,” the minister said. “No board exams will be held till mid-June (June 15).”

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