The federal government on Wednesday decided to extend the lockdown to counter the novel coronavirus for another fortnight (till April 14).
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative Asad Umar said that the decision had been taken with the consent of "all units of the country including federal government, and governments of all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir."
He said that, "We have jointly decided that the current level of lockdown should continue for another two weeks."
Umar was addressing a press briefing along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division Moeed Yusuf here to inform about the decision of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting on coronavirus held here.
However, he said that in the meantime, the NCC would keep on monitoring the situation closely and the decision could be revised by either reducing restrictions and period or increasing the restrictions that all would depend on the pace of spread of the virus.
Expressing satisfaction over the slow pace of spread of the virus, the minister said that the government's strategy of imposing restriction had yielded positive results. "Therefore, we do not need any further restrictions to be imposed at current stage," he added.
Umar informed that the services and industries, which needed essential items such as eatables, energy, and medicines, would have to be kept open to ensure proper production and supply of the essential items.
He said except some complaints from some areas of the country, all the provinces were fully implementing the decisions of the NCC. With respect to transportation of Pakistanis abroad, the minister said on April 4, the government had decided to run first flight of Pakistan International Airlines that would carry Pakistani passengers who wanted to return back to their country.
"Passengers will be tested and they will be kept in quarantine facility till the results are received," he said, referring to the government's aim to resume flight operations. If they test negative, then we will ask them to self-quarantine and take necessary precautionary measures, the minister said.
"On April 5, we will review this measure of bringing people from abroad, if it is successful then the flights will be started in different airports of the country. However, he informed that the domestic flights would remain suspended until further order.