The restrictions forewarned by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on the non-vaccinated population, would take effect from Friday (today), such as ban on boarding domestic and international flights, entering the educational institutions and shopping malls.
Planning Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC – the nerve centre of the government’s unified anti-Covid strategy – said on Thursday that the only way to overcome the coronavirus pandemic was to “get a high percentage of citizens vaccinated”.
The announcement comes as the fourth wave of coronavirus pandemic, continued its declining trend as the national tally of active cases came down to 47,832 on Thursday with 1,742 new cases and 2,377 recoveries during the last 24 hours.
Earlier, the NCOC had warned that the people in essential services would be stopped after September 30 in case they did not get themselves vaccinated. The forum, reminded that the deadline expired on Thursday and urged the masses to get the jabs as early as possible.
“Non-vaccinated people will also not be allowed into educational institutions, shopping malls, or restaurants as of Friday,” the NCOC, said. “The only way to overcome the coronavirus pandemic is to get a high percentage of citizens vaccinated,” Umar said in a statement.
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“As part of the strategy to reward citizens and cities which vaccinate,” the planning minister continued, “there will be higher restrictions on cities with low level of vaccination and on citizens who are not vaccinated”.
The NCOC relaxed some Covid-induced restrictions in the eight most-vaccinated cities, Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, and Skardu. Umar also announced an initiative to launch vaccination at schools. He said that children above 12 would be eligible for the jabs.
Pakistan has expedited its inoculation drive in recent weeks, with over 80 million vaccine doses given to date and nearly 1 million shots in the last 24 hours. Over 27.4 million people have been fully vaccinated so far, according to the official data.
Separately, the NCOC said in its daily update that the national positivity ratio during the last 24 hours was 3.3%. it added that the number of Covid patients in hospitals also fell below 4,000. As of Thursday, 3,953 patients were admitted to hospitals, including 3,768 in critical care, 455 of them on ventilators.
The forum said that 39 patients, among them 32 in hospitals, including 11 on ventilators, died during past 24 hours, raising the nationwide death toll to 27,729. Most of the deaths, 22, occurred in Punjab followed by 12 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The national caseload of the disease, since its outbreak in the country in February 2020, rose to 1,245,127, out of whom, 1,169,566 fully recovered from the infectious disease. A total of 19,386,106 tests have been conducted so far.
(WITH INPUTS FROM AGENCIES)