Islamabad: 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, reports The Express Tribune.
Addressing a news 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.
“But if people take precautions recommended by doctors and observe social distancing, the government may be able to ease some restrictions by Eidul Fitr.”
Speaking about steps being taken to combat the disease, the minister said the government was making all-out efforts to enhance testing capacity so that the actual number of infected people in the country could be ascertained.