Pakistan eases COVID-19 restrictions as new cases drop during Eid holidays

As the COVID-19 situation remained under control during the Eid al-Fitr holidays with daily new cases showing a declining trend, Pakistan decided on Saturday to ease a number of restrictions on transportation and commercial activities.

The decision was made at a special session of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar. Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan and other high-ranking officials attended the meeting.

According to the new directives, all inter-provincial, inter-city and intra-city public transport will resume from Sunday instead of Monday.

The transport will, however, be operative with 50 percent occupancy of passengers, and railways will maintain its operation with 70 percent occupancy, according to the NCOC.

The NCOC also allowed all markets and shops to remain open till 8 p.m. local time while all public and private offices are to function with normal working hours but with 50 percent of the staff starting from Monday.

The forum emphasized on continued monitoring of standard operating procedures enforcement and urged the public to ensure prior registration for vaccination.

According to the data released on Saturday by the NCOC, Pakistan recorded 1,531 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the first time that newly reported cases in a day were less than 2,000 since early March of this year, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 874,751.

A total of 83 people died during the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 19,467, according to the data.