ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Chairman Asad Umar Tuesday announced lifting of lockdown in 18 out of 24 districts with high risk of Delta variant of Covid-19 from September 16.
Addressing a press conference here, Asad Umar who is also Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, however, maintained that enhanced restrictions would still continue in six districts, - Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha, Gujrat, and Bannu till September 22.
The minister said the lockdown that was imposed in the selected districts would now be lifted from September 16.
Due to 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.
The NCOC had enforced additional curbs in districts of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad on September 4, which included ban on indoor gatherings, closure of indoor gyms, ban on intercity transport and closure of educational institutes.
He said in the six districts, some relaxation was being given as schools would open from September 16 with 50 percent attendance.
Similarly, the intercity transport would also start running with 50 percent passenger capacity.
The timing for outdoor restaurants has been extended from 10pm to 12am, however, indoor dining would be banned, the minister added.
The outdoor gathering with maximum 400 people has been allowed, however, indoor gathering would still be banned in the six districts.
Asad Umar said pressure of Covid patients in hospitals was still high as over 5,300 intensive care patients were admitted in the hospitals, who were either on oxygen or ventilator.
He said during the last few weeks, the demand of oxygen for medical purposes increased by 100 percent due to 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 but the danger had not subsided; therefore, he stressed the need for accelerating vaccination process in the country.
Urging the people to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest, he warned that the areas with 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 normalizes in the country,” he added.
He said the government was spending Rs200 billion on Covid-19 vaccine and stressed that the people should get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021