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A health worker takes a swab sample from a woman for a COVID-19. Pakistan has reported 12 deaths and 847 new cases in last twenty-four hours. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: The number of active cases of coronavirus crossed the 10,000 mark today registering a positivity rate hovering over 5.2 per cent which was a little over 2 per cent a few weeks back.

Since October 18, Pakistan is showing a steady increase of 10-15 deaths on daily basis due to coronavirus and the number of new infections has also gone up steadily in the last six days.

Today too, the country reported 12 deaths and 847 new cases in last twenty-four hours forcing the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) to renew its warning that it would be left with no choice but to order closure of services again if people continued to flout health guidelines.

High risk areas

The NCOC in a statement declared the transport sector, markets, marriage halls, restaurants and public gatherings as high-risk areas and advised the provinces to focus on them and take steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

According to a statement by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), the NCOC has been closely monitoring the situation and will take action if there is no improvement in the compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

There was a clear resurgence of the virus and the number of deaths was also increasing, the statement said, adding that the chief secretaries had been asked to strictly enforce the SOPs.

Postponement of rally

Liaquat Ali Shahwani, spokesperson for the Balochistan government appealed to the leadership of the opposition parties’ anti-government alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to postpone their show of power scheduled for Sunday, October 25 ‘in the larger interests and for the protections of the people.’

He said though the provincial government would provide all possible security to the PDM for holding their public meeting and would also provide sanitizers and face masks to the participants to stop COVID-19 from spreading, yet at the same he would request the opposition parties’ leaders not to risk their as well as the people’s lives and postpone the rally.

He said that Balochistan faced a big risk as people coming from other provinces could bring coronavirus with them. “If coronavirus cases increased in Quetta and other areas of the province, the PDM leadership would be held responsible.”

Alvi stresses following SOPs

President Dr. Arif Alvi has also stressed the need to adopt precautionary measures to control the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Talking to Balochistan Governor Amanullah Khan Yasinzai in Quetta, the president maintained that the coronavirus situation is not alarming in Pakistan. However, it is once again becoming a concern in many countries. Yasinzai informed Alvi that the teaching process has restarted in universities under strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs).