Karachi shopkeeper spices
From Monday, Pakistan's cafes, restaurants and other businesses will be allowed to reopen after a closure of nearly five months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday announced the reopening of restaurants, cafes, indoor sports venues, business centres and gyms with effect from Monday, August 10 after a closure of nearly five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister for Planning & Special Initiative Asad Umar who is also chairman of the coronavirus control committee in a tele-address shared the decisions which he said were taken in a meeting of the National Command & Operation Control (NCOC) held earlier to closely evaluate the coronavirus situation in the country.


“We are ending restrictions on various sectors after noting unprecedented decline in cases of coronavirus across the country and witnessing people’s cooperation with the government regarding following of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Covid-19”, said Umar.

Umar hoped the people would continue to extend cooperation with the government in keeping the coronavirus under constant check.

Umar said restaurants, cafes and other eateries would be allowed to reopen with SOPs strictly in place. The government will finalize SOPs in next few days, he said.

He said non-contact sports were also being allowed to resume but without audiences, although tournaments and matches will be permitted.

Shrines to open from September 15

The NCOC has also decided to allow marriage halls resume business from September 15, said the minister adding shrines and mausoleums were also being opened, however, he made it clear in case of some festival or religious gathering at these shrines, provincial governments would be authorized to issue SOPs and decide, he further said.

The government has also decided to lift all restrictions on timings and days of operation of markets and shops which will now revert to pre-coronavirus routine, Umar announced.

All provinces can decide their own timings and days of operation of businesses as per their normal procedures, the minister said.

Pakistan on Thursday reported 21 deaths, 727 confirmed cases and 1,772 recoveries in a period of 24 hours. The total number of infections stands at 281,863.

The number of active cases in the country are 19,770 with over 90 per cent recovery rate. The death rate has remained as low as 2.1 per cent for a consecutive seventh day.

More than 15,000 tests were conducted countrywide over the past 24 hours to ascertain the spread of the virus, according to the health ministry’s portal.

Meanwhile, a Postgraduate trainee Dr. Muzamil Abbas who was serving at the neurology ward of the Nishtar Hospital of Multan in Punjab went down battling coronavirus. He had contracted COVID-19 more than a month ago.

Dr. Abbas was initially admitted to the Nishtar Hospital but later was shifted to RecepTayyip Erdogan Hospital, Muzaffargarh when his condition deteriorated where he was put on a ventilator.

His condition improved and he was removed from the ventilator, however, he was put on it again after his condition worsened and he did not recover. Earlier, Principal of the Nishtar Medical University Dr. Mustafa Kamal Pasha has also lost his life to coronavirus.

The Young Doctors Association and Dr. Muzamil Abbas’ colleagues have demanded that the deceased doctor should be declared martyr and compensation for his family should be announced by the provincial government.