A deserted view of the Mall Road, one of Lahore's busiest roads, as people restrict their movements due to lockdown in Pakistan's Punjab province to combat COVID-19 outbreak. Image Credit: APP

Islamabad: As the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan increased to 8,425 on Monday with 176 deaths, the federal government suggested provinces to enforce lockdown in only those localities from where new cases were being reported.

The government also decided to open the Torkham and Chaman borders twice a week to facilitate return of around 800 stranded Pakistanis from Afghanistan, besides mulling over options to allow some international airlines to bring back the Pakistanis from various countries, reports Dawn news.

In another significant development, six stakeholders in the health sector established Grand National Health Alliance (GNHA) to help protect the healthcare providers who are on the frontline.

The alliance sent a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, alleging that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza and Punjab Health Minister Yasmeen Rashid had deceived the nation and the top court by making false statements regarding the coronavirus situation in the country.

Discussing the measures being taken to stop the spread of virus, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf told a news conference on Sunday that efforts were being made to stop the transmission of the disease from abroad.

However, he said, 63 per cent of the cases were reported through local transmission.

For this, he added, testing capacity would have to be increased and the relevant authorities should opt for ‘smart lockdown’.

“We need to go for smart lockdown and let the other areas of the country remain open. Only those areas should be sealed from where cases are reported and other areas should remain opend.

“We have opened some industries but they also need to ensure social distancing among their employees,” he added.