Islamabad skyline
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has cautioned the government would be forced to impose major restrictions if public violations of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for COVID-19 continue. Image Credit: Agency

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has cautioned the government would be forced to impose major restrictions if public violations of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for COVID-19 continue.

Addressing the nation ahead of a question-and-answer session over telephone, the prime minister warned that the government would be forced to impose major restrictions if people didn’t start adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.

He said the country was in the grip of the 3rd wave of COVID-19 which is deadlier and faster than the previous two.

“I have noticed ... people are not taking care nor are they taking precautions while going out in public,” said the prime minister making it clear that such an attitude could have dangerous consequences and lead to the spread of the disease.

“We have so far been protecting our masses and we are not imposing a lockdown or closing our factories. We are only imposing minor restrictions so that this wave doesn’t spread rapidly. But if this spreads, it will have a very negative impact and we will be forced to take steps,” said the prime minister

ICU patients

Pakistan has registered an alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 patients being admitted at the intensive care unit (ICU). According to Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiative Asad Umar the country had 3,568 COVID-19 patients on Saturday.

“This is the highest number since COVID started. The need for strong enforcement of SOPs is vital. Please take precautions and cooperate with the administration in their enforcement efforts,” said Asad Umar.

5,020 new cases

Pakistan on Sunday reported 5,020 new cases of COVID-19 and 81 deaths during the last twenty-four hours. Pakistan conducted 55,605 tests for COVID-19 and according to the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) the number of active cases had jumped past 60,072 on Sunday.

With the latest additions in cases and casualties, Pakistan’s total number of infections stood at 687,908 while the death toll after 81 fatalities surged to 14,778.

The NCOC announced on Sunday a ban on inter-provincial transport for two days a week (Saturday and Sunday) with effect from April 10. The ban will stay in effect will April 25.

“Goods, freight, medical and other emergency services will be exempted,” the statement issued by the NCOC said, adding that trains would continue to operate throughout the week at 70 per cent occupancy.

The ban will be reviewed by the NCOC on April 20.