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Pakistan extends nationwide lockdown till May 9 as Coronavirus cases reach 11, 729

The decision was made during a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday

SNS | New Delhi |


The Pakistan government has extended the countrywide lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic for 15 more days until May 9 amid doctors warnings against easing restrictions and the number of COVID-19 cases increasing to 11,729, with 248 deaths.

The decision was made during a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday, The Express Tribune reported.

On April 14, Prime Minister Imran Khan had extended the previous nationwide lockdown until the end of this month to fight the pandemic.

Khan, while allowing relaxation in the lockdown to allow these industries to work, warned of action if set procedures were flouted.

Addressing a press conference at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on COVID-19, Federal Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar said the lockdown had been extended in consultation with the governments of the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Umar said the “trace and track system” announced by the premier a day earlier to identify positive cases would be launched from Saturday.

“This is a complete national response formulated by the federal government,” he said, adding that the provinces would mainly be responsible for the implementation of the decision.

Umar noted that holy month of Ramzan would be decisive in determining the trajectory of coronavirus cases in the country.

“If people act irresponsibly and don’t follow precautionary measures, then we will be compelled to impose more restrictions,” The Express Tribune quoted the minister as saying.

Earlier, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that the railways would set up a special quarantine train comprising of 30 coaches in Balochistan.

According to authorities, Pakistan would also allow some foreign airlines to bring back about 40,000 Pakistani nationals stranded abroad.

Experts fear Covid-19 cases may rise further since the relaxations have been announced. They say these relaxations will bring hundreds of thousands of people to the streets, making them more vulnerable to local transmission of the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, the worldwide death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has reached 197,245. A total of 2,830,051 people have been infected.