In its efforts to curb the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pakistani government has ramped up restrictions across the country for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr festival, urging the public to stay at home to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

In a statement on Saturday, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) which oversees the country’s response to the pandemic, said that all businesses, hotels, parks, recreational spots and shopping malls will remain closed until May 16, covering the Eid al-Fitr holidays from May 10 to 15 in Pakistan, reports Xinhua news agency.

Besides, there will also be a complete ban on inter-provincial and inter-city public transport during the May 8-16 period.

Monitoring teams at federal, provincial, and district levels will make sure the implementation of the restrictions.

However, essential services including petrol stations, bakeries and pharmacies will be exempted from the restrictions, said the NCOC.

Pakistan has seen record deaths and the highest number of critical cases in recent days.

The country reported 4,109 new cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 854,240.

A total of 120 people died during the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 18,797, according to the NCOC.

Considering the grim situation in the country, the government has announced extended Eid al-Fitr holidays and guidelines to curb the rising Covid-19 cases, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said.

“We have seen the destruction of coronavirus in our neighbouring country. In Pakistan, we have recently been witnessing a sharp rise in the number of cases and by following standard operating procedures, we will be able to protect ourselves from the virus,” Hussain said in his special message to public recently.

“In the past, we used to meet our families, relatives and friends to share the happiness of the festival, but on this Eid, we will be staying at home to save ourselves and families,” he said, adding that “Stay Home, Stay Safe” will be the motto on the Eid al-Fitr holidays this time.

In order to control a mass mobility of travellers, Pakistan has suspended inbound pedestrian movement through land border crossings with neighbouring Iran and Afghanistan from May 5 to 20.

Normally, during Eid al-Fitr, massive return of migrant workers and overseas Pakistanis for celebrations are witnessed.

The country also slashed inbound international flights by 80 per cent from May 5 to 20 amid high disease prevalence in various parts of the world and the current disease situation in Pakistan with corresponding extreme stress on the critical care system.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 vaccination campaign has also been expedited recently.

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s single-day administered vaccine doses surpassed 200,000 for the first time, said Asad Umar, the NCOC chairman, adding that over 5 million people have been registered for vaccination so far.

–IANS

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