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Pakistan records highest COVID-19 death toll since Sept 1

Children riding on a bike with their family wear face masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus in Karachi, Pakistan, October 29, 2020. AFP/Asif Hassan

ISLAMABAD: The total number of cases coronavirus in Pakistan surpassed 332,000 as daily tally crossed the 1,000 mark on Thursday, making it the highest since July 29, 2020.

As many as 1,078 new confirmed cases were recorded in the past 24 hours after 32,933 individuals were tested, bringing Pakistan’s total to 332,186, according to the data shared by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC).

According to the NCOC, the country reported 20 new deaths — the highest since Sept 1.

Pakistan’s confirmed coronavirus deaths stand at 6,795 while a total of 313,527 people have recovered across provinces – with 889 recovering in a day.

With 11,864 active cases, Pakistan is struggling with a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

Creating havoc

Speaking to Geo Pakistan, Federal Minister of Planning Asad Umar expressed concerns on the rising positivity rate. He said what happens next depends on how much people adapt to the coronavirus lifestyle and follow the SOPs.

“We are not careful like we aren’t in the past few weeks, then we have India and Iran as examples of the havoc the virus can create,” he warned.

Umar said the government’s policy to implement the SOPs instead of a total lockdown has been successful. “Lockdowns have been imposed in many of Islamabad’s streets,” he said, adding that the government was looking to take preventive measures to control the spread.

“The NCOC is keeping a close eye on the daily situation, If necessary, we are prepared to take strict actions.”

Implementing SOPs

After continuing warnings, the NCOC on Wednesday made it mandatory for all citizens to wear a mask when stepping out of their houses. It also asked provinces to ensure implementation of COVID-19 SOPs particularly in shopping malls, restaurants and public transports.

The NCOC warned that the case positivity rate had crossed 2% in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gilgit-Baltistan, Muzzafarabad, Mirpur, Peshawar and Quetta.

Following the NCOC directives, Islamabad imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for two months. “Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat said those not wearing a mask will be arrested by the police.

Punjab imposed 491 “micro smart lockdowns” across the province with 431 in Lahore alone while Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani hinted at school closure due to a surge in coronavirus cases. 

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