Total cases have crossed 345,000
The toll from coronavirus reached 7,000 in Pakistan as 23 more deaths were reported on Tuesday. The total number of cases has now reached 346,476.
Daily deaths started rising again in mid-October after which Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Faisal Sultan announced that the country was experiencing the second wave of the virus.
The positivity rate of the coronavirus was 5.13 on Tuesday, the highest after August 5 when it was 5.67. The death rate from the virus, on the other hand, has increased to 2%.
In the last 24 hours, 1,637 new cases were reported countrywide. The highest number of cases were reported in Sindh followed by Punjab. Here’s the province-wise breakdown of cases:
Following the rise in cases, the National Command and Operation Centre issued new SOPs for residents on November 7. Wearing of face masks has been made mandatory.
A ban has been placed on gathering at wedding halls in major cities across the country including Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Multan and Peshawar from November 20.
People will only be allowed to hold gatherings and ceremonies in open spaces and a maximum of 1,000 people will be allowed to attend.
The NCOC has also decided to instruct government and private institutions to cut their workforce in half. Only 50% of their employees will work at offices while the rest will work from home.
The government will also impose smart lockdowns in areas affected by the virus.
After a number of areas were reported to be coronavirus hot spots, the government imposed smart lockdowns in neighbourhoods of Islamabad, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi.
According to a notification issued by the Punjab Government, the sealed areas in Lahore include New Muslim Town, Allama Iqbal Town, Garden Town, Shadman, and Askari XI.
In Multan, the entry and exit of Naqshabad Colony, Gulgasht Colony, Mepco Colony, Khwaja Abad and Sadat Colony will be sealed.
In Rawalpindi, the smart lockdown will be imposed in Satellite Town and Abbasi Abad.
A varsity, Fauji Foundation University, and a school, Kahuta Government Girls High School, has also been shut down.
Schools, shopping centres, mosques and parks in the areas will be shut down. Medical stores and hospitals will be allowed to remain open throughout the day. Residents will not be allowed to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary and people without masks will be fined.
On the international front, one of the teams racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine announced on Monday that its vaccine had shown 90 percent effectiveness.
US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said tests involving more than 40,000 people had provided results that were a “critical milestone” in the search for a vaccine, as global infections soared past 50 million — including an alarming 10 million now in the United States alone.
An effective vaccine is seen as the best hope to break the cycle of deadly virus surges followed by severe restrictions across much of the world since Covid-19 first emerged in China late last year.
Tens of millions of people in Europe are living under lockdowns preventing them from leaving their homes, and millions of business owners are enduring forced closures.
World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed the news as “encouraging” shortly after warning that the world “might be tired of Covid-19. But it is not tired of us.”