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Chand raat bazaars, shopping malls, public places to remain closed from May 8-16 across Pakistan

Women queue to enter a clothing store in Rawalpindi on May 11, 2020. — AFP/File

Chand raat bazaars, shopping malls, public places, and recreational spots will all remain closed from May 8-16, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) said Thursday.

The NCOC, in a statement, said: “The current spike of COVID-19 in the country merits effective measures to arrest its further spread with special emphasis on reducing mobility during forthcoming Eid-ul-Fitr.”

In this regard, it has announced comprehensive “Stay home, stay safe” guidelines for Eid-uI-Fitr-2021  to curb the spread of the virus.

The restrictions will be in place from May 8-16.

All markets, businesses, and shops will remain closed except essential services, which include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies/medical stores
  • Medical facilities and vaccination centres
  • Vegetables, fruit, chicken, and meat shops
  • Bakeries
  • Petrol pumps
  • Food takeaways and E-Commerce (Home Delivery)
  • Utility Services (electricity, natural gas, internet, cellular networks/telecom, call centres) and media.

Moreover, the ban on chand raat bazaars extends to mehndi, jewelry/ornaments and clothing stalls, the NCOC said.

A complete ban on tourism would also be observed for both locals and foreigners.

All tourist resorts, formal and informal picnic spots, public parks, shopping malls will remain shut. All hotels and restaurants around tourist and picnic spots will remain closed.

“Travel nodes leading to tourist/picnic spots closed; focus on Murree, Galiyat, Swat-Kalam, Sea View/beaches, and Northern Areas and other tourist destinations,” the statement said.

Locals, especially people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, would be allowed to travel back home, the statement said.

A complete ban on inter-provincial, inter-city, and intra-city public transport will be observed except for private vehicles, taxis, rickshaws, with 50% occupancy.

“Additional trains to manage extra passenger load till May 7, thereafter normal train operation [will] be resumed. 70% occupancy along with stringent COVID SOPs [should] be ensured,” it said.

Moreover, Eid-ul-Fitr holidays in Pakistan would be observed from May 10-15, NCOC said.

Pakistan’s coronavirus positivity ratio jumped to 9.6% today after the country reported over 5,000 new infections in the last 24 hours.

According to the official data provided by the NCOC, 5,480 people tested positive for the coronavirus, after 57,013 tests were conducted across the country.

The total tally of COVID-19 cases now stands at 815,711, with most cases reported in Punjab.

The number of recoveries nationwide has reached 708,193 so far, while the number of active cases in the country stands at 89,838 as of today.

A day earlier, Pakistan reported the highest single-day death toll recorded since the pandemic started last year with over 200 new fatalities.

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