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Coronavirus situation worsens in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: The third wave of the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in Pakistan as the coronavirus positivity rate jumped past 11% on Monday.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported that 40,369 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours out of which 4,525 were positive, making the national positivity ratio 11.21%.

The new cases took the countrywide tally of positive COVID-19 cases to 659,116.

Out of those 264,889 have been reported in Sindh, 215,227 in Punjab, 85,531 in KP, 56,450 in the federal capital, 19,525 in Balochistan, 12,484 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 5,010 in Gilgit Baltistan.

The total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan are 46,663 while 598,197 have recovered from the virus.

Pakistan also reported 41 deaths to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours with the most deaths occurring in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The new deaths took the countrywide death toll to 14,256. Out of which 6,246 have died in Punjab, 4,491 in Sindh, 2,301 in KP, 561 in Islamabad, 206 in Balochistan, 348 in AJK and 103 in GB.

Positivity ratio in Swat, Peshawar over 20%

The NCOC on Monday also identified 19 districts of the country that have a high positivity ratio.

The identified districts were Swat (23%), Peshawar (22%), Nowshehra (19%), Lahore (17%), Rawalpindi (15%), Faisalabad (15%), Sargodha (12%), Sialkot (12%), Malakand (12%), Swabi (12%), Multan (12%), Mandi Bahauddin (11%), Gujranwala (10%), Okara (9%), Rahim Yar Khan (9%), Toba Tek Singh (9%), Bahawalpur (8%), Dir Lower (8%), Gujrat (7%).


Ban on inter-provincial transport on the cards

Amid the rising cases, the NCOC on Sunday announced a complete ban on holding wedding functions — both indoor and outdoor — starting April 5, in areas that have a three-day rolling average of an 8% positivity ratio.

The coronavirus monitoring body took the decisions in a meeting held on Sunday.

The meeting was chaired by Federal Minister of Planning and Development Asad Umar, whereas, chief ministers of all four provinces attended it via video link.

The NCOC announced a "complete ban on marriages (including indoor and outdoor) from 5th April onwards".

"However, provinces will be at liberty to implement restrictions in early time frame as per the situation on ground," read the NCOC statement.

The NCOC said that the government is also mulling the prospects of more restrictions on inter-provincial travelling. "Various options for reduction of inter-provincial transport were considered," said the statement.

However, the final decision will be taken based on the input from all provinces and an analysis of the data about the number of inter-provincial commuters via air, rail and road, said the NCOC.

On the imposition of more smart lockdowns, the NCOC said it will provide updated hotspot maps to provinces for enforcement of expanded lockdowns, with effect from March 29, 2021.

It also directed provinces to ensure vaccination targets given to them are being met in a timely manner.

"Correct and timely data ingestion in NIMS be ensured by all provinces," it added.

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