Pakistan mulls locking down major cities if spike in COVID-19 cases persists
Lockdown is likely to be imposed in major cities of Pakistan if spike in COVID-19 cases persists due to failure of the public to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the government, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) of Pakistan said on Wednesday.
Talking to media after chairing a meeting of the NCOC, the center's chief Asad Umar said that the third wave of the disease is getting serious and the number of critical patients on ventilators rose to around 4,500, about 30 percent higher than the peak time of the epidemic in June of last year.
Expressing concern over the worsening situation of the disease, Umar said that the public should realize that it is time to get serious about the disease spreads and comply with the SOPs because the negligence of the public is putting extra burden on the healthcare system.
He said that 80 percent of ventilators in most of the cities of the country are being used, and the country on the whole is utilizing over 90 percent of the total oxygen supply chain available.
The official said that the NCOC has decided to impose further restrictions which will be announced on Friday to be implemented in the country where schools and excursion activities are already banned in almost all major cities.
Sharing statistics with the media, Umar said that the COVID-19 positivity rate in some areas of the country has risen to over thirty percent, which is very alarming for the healthcare system of the country.
The official earlier said that most of the new cases in the country in the third wave are because of the coronavirus variant initially found in Britain.
In order to put a check on the fast spread of the disease, Pakistan has put 23 countries in its "Category C" from where inbound travelers to the country are banned.
A total of 5,499 new cases were reported in the country since Tuesday, taking the country's COVID-19 tally to 772,381, the NCOC said on Wednesday, adding that totally 16,600 died of the disease and 672,619 recovered.