On Monday, November 16, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced restrictions to be reimposed with immediate effect, as the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continue to rise. Public gatherings organized by the Pakistan Tehreek-f-Insaf (PTI) have been suspended countrywide. Public meetings and gatherings by other political parties have been asked to follow suit. Businesses, industries, and restaurants will remain open, ensuring social distancing regulations are maintained. Gatherings of more than 300 people have been prohibited and organizers of larger events are liable to face charges. Marriage ceremonies have been allowed only in open areas with a restriction on the number of guests to 300. Entertainment venues are required to close at 18:00 (local time), though shopping malls and markets can operate until 22:00, after which time only essential shops may function. The decision on the closing of educational institutions has been delayed till next week; winter vacations could be extended in schools and colleges if cases continue to worsen.
Additional varying measures are in force in provinces introduced by local authorities. On Tuesday, November 10, Punjab authorities announced that parts of the cities of Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan will be placed under lockdown until Friday, November 19. The measure includes the closing of all markets, malls, and restaurants. It also restricts movement and suspends all gatherings in these areas. Shops selling essential items will operate on revised opening times; however, medical services will remain accessible 24 hours a day. A full list of areas under the measures can be found here.
Public transport has restarted across the country in addition to the resumption of domestic and international flight operations. Rail and bus travel has also restarted, including inter-city and inter-province travel; there remain restrictions on the number of passengers. Individuals are also required to wear face masks and coverings on public transportation and in all public areas. Additional temperature screenings are expected and social distancing regulations should continue to be observed by all persons. Authorities allowed restaurants, cafes, cinemas, gyms, and religious institutions to reopen, and the tourist sector, amid the partial easing of COVID-19 restrictions since June. Individuals found to be violating measures may be fined.
As of Thursday, November 19, there have been 365,927 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan, and 7284 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
Copyright and Disclaimer