The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to ease additional restrictions in eight cities across Pakistan after October 1.
Addressing a media briefing along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan in Islamabad on Wednesday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said the decision has been taken after achieving a target to vaccinate 40 percent population above 15 years of age in the said cities.
He pointed out the cities that achieved the targeted vaccination rate are Gilgit, Skardu, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Quetta, and Peshawar.
“We are relaxing restrictions in these eight cities from October 1,” he announced. “The rest of the cities and districts will have to implement on the same restrictions that are currently in place, till October 15,” he added.
He said that as part of the new SOPs, indoor gatherings of up to 300 persons and outdoor gatherings of up to 1,000 persons will be allowed. However, he stated that the restriction of a one-day holiday will remain in place.
The minister highlighted that restaurants will now be permitted to open seven days a week in the said cities. He warned that curbs will be imposed on unvaccinated people after October 1.
He said the government has decided to vaccinate people in areas where coronavirus positivity ratios are higher. “Vaccination is the only way forward to battle the coronavirus,” he said.
He mentioned that vaccinating a higher number of people is the fastest way to get rid of the problems being faced due to Covid-19.
He said lockdowns and closures usually meant economic losses and business setbacks. Umar clarified that increased vaccination rates will not, however, mean that coronavirus will be totally eliminated across Pakistan. “However, it ensures that people are able to spend their lives normally,” he said.
Over 80 million vaccine doses administered
Pakistan has administered over 80 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine as the country continued to witness a decline in its daily Covid-19 cases.
The Ministry of National Health Services announced in a tweet on Wednesday that 975,361 doses were administered across the country during the last 24 hours. Out of these, 508,637 were first doses and 464,982 were second doses.
Another milestone in Pakistan's COVID-19 vaccination drive: over 80 million doses have been administered! pic.twitter.com/kURxukWgSE— Ministry of National Health Services, Pakistan (@nhsrcofficial) September 29, 2021
Total doses administered till now is 80.5 million,” the ministry tweeted.
Vaccination drive for citizens aged 12
On September 28, Umar announced that the government had decided to start vaccinating citizens aged 12 and above.
“Special drive will be run for vaccination at schools to make it easier for children to be vaccinated,” he tweeted. Later, the NCOC said that the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to those who are below 18 years of age.
Meanwhile, during the last 24 hours, Pakistan reported 1,560 new cases at a positivity ratio of 3.19%. The country conducted 48,836 tests on September 28. The active number of coronavirus cases decreased to 48,506, while the critical number of cases stands at 3,948.