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Coronavirus outbreak: Federal govt extends countrywide lockdown till May 9

Coronavirus outbreak: Federal govt extends countrywide lockdown till May 9

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to extend the countrywide lockdown till May 9, announced Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Friday.

Speaking at news conference, the minister said that a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting had been held which decided to extend the date of the lockdown.

He said that the NCOC was about to start the implementation of the trace and track system from tomorrow. “Consultations were held with chief secretaries and then health ministers at the NCOC. The prime minister has given approval for the system,” he said.

Umar said that the apex body of the NCOC will oversee the trace and track system but the provincial governments, information technology institutions, civil and military organisations will be involved in the process as well.

“This is a complete national response formed by the government,” he said, though adding that the provincial governments will be responsible mainly for the implementation of the system.

He announced that throughout the month of Ramazan, loadshedding will not take place during Sehar and Iftar hours.

The minister said that if people practiced the prescribed safety precautions during the holy month, then it would allow business and other activities to inch towards normalcy.

“However, God forbid, if we demonstrate irresponsibility, then we may have to impose more restrictions after Eid,” he said.

He said that generally, Pakistanis had made a lot of changes to their social life during the past month ever since the lockdown was imposed. “We are trying to predict what this infection’s spread will be through consultations will data scientists and experts,” he said.

The remarks from the federal minister came a day before Pakistan observes its first fast for Ramadan 2020.

Currently, the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan have crossed the 11,500 mark on Friday. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom warned on Thursday that if Pakistan did not take sufficient “preventive interventions” then the number of coronavirus cases in the country can surge to 200,000 by mid-July.