ISLAMABAD    -  Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Tuesday announced said that strict coronavirus restrictions are “inevitable” following the rise in COVID-19 deaths and the positivity ratio of infections across the country.

Addressing a news conference, the top health official said that a few weeks ago, 400-500 cases were being reported across the country on a daily basis. The tally, he said, had shot up to 700-750 cases of the infection per day.

“The coronavirus death rate has increased in the country,” the top health official said, adding that that the positivity ratio had surged to 2.5-2.75%. Dr Faisal regretted that the masses were not adhering to coronavirus precautions as they should as the pandemic was still far from over. 

“Now, Pakistan is entering a phase where we need to tighten coronavirus curbs,” the PM’s aide said, adding that an official plan would be formulated soon.

Our focus is to tighten coronavirus restrictions, he said, adding more restrictions would be placed on the cities and areas where the positivity ratio of the virus is high,” Dr Faisal said.

Authorities are mulling over several plans and recommendations to impose restrictions to stem the spread of the virus, he said. “We urge local administrations to implement coronavirus SOPs,” he said and warned that the government would impose a fine on people who did not follow coronavirus SOPs in public places.

The special assistant said that business timings across the country may be reduced in light of the growing cases of the pandemic. He said that business timings that were in place during the pandemic may be restored again.

“Restrictions are hard [on the people] and no government wishes to impose them,” he said, adding that if people follow coronavirus safety measures, Pakistan could beat this wave as well. “Further details will be disclosed after deliberations with all provinces,” Dr Faisal added.

The total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan on Tuesday were recorded 11,190 as 773 more people tested positive for the deadly virus during the last 24 hours.

Six corona patients, five of whom were under treatment in hospital and one out of hospital died on Monday, according to the latest update issued by the National command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

No COVID affected person was on ventilator in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Balochistan, while 93 ventilators elsewhere in Pakistan, out of 1,884 allocated for COVID-19 patients, were occupied.

Some 27,133 tests were conducted across the country on Monday, including 8,157 in Sindh, 10,083 in Punjab, 4,545 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 3,249 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 758 in Balochistan, 258 in Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and 83 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Around 311,440 people have recovered from the disease so far across Pakistan making it a significant count with over 90 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients.

Since the pandemic outbreak, a total of 329,375 cases were detected so far, including AJK 3,849, Balochistan 15,839, GB 4,191, ICT 19,181, KP 39,119, Punjab 103,082 and Sindh 144,114.

About 6,745 deaths were recorded in country since the eruption of the contagion, including 2,599 Sindh among one of them died out of hospital on Monday, 2,336 in Punjab one of them died in hospital on Monday, 1,270 in KP where one of them died in hospital on Monday, 213 in ICT one of them died in hospital on Monday, 149 in Balochistan one of them in hospital on Monday, 91 in GB among one of them died in hospital on Monday and 87 in AJK.

A total of 4,317,678 corona tests have been conducted so far, while 735 hospitals are equipped with COVID facilities. Some 853 corona patients were admitted in hospitals across the country.