Islamabad: The Punjab Cabinet’s committee to deal with the coronavirus outbreak has recommended to the federal government to lift the ban on restaurants and eateries.

The decision has been taken at a point of time when the number of coronavirus cases in the country has crossed 62,000.

In view of the new directives, restaurants will be instructed to work under strict health guidelines and in line with the standard operating procedures (SOP).

“We are opening restaurants on the instructions of the chief minister of the province and in view of the financial challenges being faced by the food business and people who have lost their jobs because of the closure,” a senior official of the provincial government told Gulf News on Thursday.

He said cinemas and theatres in the province will also be permitted to open under the SOPs.

Overwhelming number of patients at hospitals

Meanwhile, there are reports from various hospitals of an overwhelming number of coronavirus patients coming in for treatment on a daily basis and there is no further room in emergency and isolation wards to treat them.

A video clip showing a doctor of Faisalabad’s Civil Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) has gone viral on social media, in which the doctor can be seen urging the public to take preventive measures and maintain social distancing. “On a 12-hour emergency duty, we are receiving 12 to 15 patients daily in advanced stages of infection from the virus,” the doctor says in the video.

Pakistan Institute of medical sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad has also reported that ICUs and isolation wards at hospitals have reached their maximum capacity. Dr Minhajul Siraj, deputy executive director of PIMS, said 45 patients were being treated currently at the hospital while two had expired during the evening shift on Wednesday.

Number of deaths in Pakistan has gone from 1,224 to 1,260 — 36 reported in the last 24 hours.

More than 0.5 million tests conducted

According to the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC), so far, 508,086 tests have been conducted in the country. In the last 24 hours, 8,491 tests have been conducted all over the country, of which, 2,106 have returned positive results.

20,231 recoveries

Despite this latest spike in the number of new cases of coronavirus, figures show that 20,231 patients have recovered from the virus.

1,103 new cases in Sindh

According to the Chief Minister’s office in Sindh, in the last 24 hours, the province’s tally for coronavirus cases has gone up to 25,309, with 1,103 new cases reported in just one day.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah said 4,101 tests had been conducted over the last 24 hours, of which, 1,103 have returned positive results, taking the province’s total to 25,309.

With 16 new deaths during this period, the province’s tally of fatalities stands at 396. On Wednesday, the total number of deaths due to Covid-19 stood at 380.

Of those who had tested positive and were kept in isolation centres, 227 were in critical condition while 39 were on ventilators.