ISLAMABAD - All educational institutions across Pakistan are closed and a ban has also been imposed on inter-city transport as the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) tightens Covid restrictions to decrease the spread of the coronavirus.

Authorities on Friday briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan on the current pandemic situation in the country and the PM consented to stricter Covid restrictions in the cities where coronavirus cases are on the rise.

“Covid update encompassing special NPIs for selective high disease prevalence districts of Punjab, KP and ICT were presented by the NCOC to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on 3rd September 2021. After taking a detailed stock of the current disease situation in different districts, daily hospital admissions, pressure on critical care and availability of oxygen, the Prime Minister very kindly consented to the approval of special NPIs for following 24 high disease prevalence districts,” read the NCOC handout issued on Friday.  

The new SOPs, announced after permission from the premier, include ban on all types of indoor/outdoor gatherings, all types of indoor gyms, and intercity public transport besides closure of the education sector.

New restrictions to be imposed in big cities including Islamabad, Lahore, Pindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Peshawar

The districts where the new restrictions would be imposed include Gujrat, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Sialkot, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Khushab, Mianwali, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Bhakkar, Multan and Bahawalpur (Punjab), Haripur, Malakand, Mansehra, Swabi, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, Abbottabad and Peshawar (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) and ICT (Islamabad).

The NCOC said that special NPIs will remain enforced from 4-12 September in all the 24 districts while the NPIs for remaining sectors will remain enforced as already communicated by the authorities. The NCOC will review the NPIs on 9 September 2021. All federating units have been requested to institute robust mechanism for implementation of special NPIs.

Meanwhile, at least 57 more deaths due to coronavirus infection and 3,787 positive cases were reported in the country during the last 24 hours. According the National Command and Operation Center statistics, 59,745 tests were conducted and positivity ratio remained six point thirty-three per cent.

Covid-19 death toll crosses 26,000-mark

The total number of coronavirus-related fatalities in Pakistan has surpassed 26,000, with 57 more deaths reported over the past 24 hours on Friday morning.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has reported the highest number of deaths among all provinces at 26 during the past 24 hours. The overall death toll from the deadly virus now stands at 26,035 in the country. Pakistan on Friday also reported 3,787 Covid-19 infections during the last 24 hours, which has taken the national infection tally to 1,171,578. The positivity rate is 6.33 percent.

According to the fresh data of the cases and deaths reported in the country over the past 24 hours, Punjab reported 1368 cases and 20 deaths, Sindh 1228 cases and 8 deaths, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 667 cases and 26 deaths, Islamabad 332 cases and 2 deaths, AJK 104 cases, Balochistan 47 cases while Gilgit-Baltistan reported 41 such cases and 1 death. Punjab tally of cases has risen to 397,694 and the death toll has increased to 11,979. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa infection tally has risen to 163,677 and the death toll has climbed to 5,041. Meanwhile, Balochistan has taken its infection tally to 32,329 while the Covid-19 death toll remains 339.

The country has also reported 6,595 Covid-19 recoveries over the past 24 hours, according to the government’s portal for tracking the spread of the disease. So far, the country has reported a total of 1,055,467 recoveries, and the recovery rate is 90.1 percent, according to the NCOC.