Shoppers walk through an atrium at the Dolmen Mall Clifton in Karachi, on September 20, 2021. Pakistan’s COVID-19 cases are declining slowly but steadily. Image Credit: Bloomberg

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court has dismissed a petition that challenged mandatory vaccination in the country.

Declaring the plea filed by a lady lawyer non-maintainable, the court recalled that former US president Donald Trump was also against vaccination and observed that the petitioner was helping spread the disease by not getting herself inoculated.

Now the one who is not vaccinating has become a follower of Donald Trump, the Chief Justice Athar Minallah said, pointing out that the female lawyer had also taken off her mask.

Later, the court in its order stated that scientists and researchers had prepared the vaccine to save human lives, which was declared safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The petitioner should trust the state policies, which had been formulated to save lives of citizens from the deadly pandemic.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s COVID-19 cases are declining slowly but steadily and according to the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) 2,333 new cases were reported on Wednesday against 51,139 tests for COVID-19 conducted in the past 24 hours.

The COVID-19 positivity rate in the country stands at 4.56 per cent, the NCOC data further reveals.

After the latest figures, Wednesday thus turned out to be the fifth consecutive day with less than 5 per cent positivity rate.

Not only positivity rate, but the number of active cases of COVID-19 has also dropped from 62,922 (on Tuesday) to 61,947 on Wednesday, according to the NCOC data.

Curbs eased

The country’s toll after 47 deaths in the last twenty-four hours climbed to 27,374, while 3,261 persons also recovered in the meanwhile.

With cases of COVID-19 declining across the country, the NCOC decided to lift additional restrictions in six districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The NCOC on September 4 enforced restrictions in 24 districts of Punjab, KP and Islamabad. They included a ban on indoor gatherings and intercity transport and closure of educational institutions and indoor gyms. Initially, the restrictions were imposed till September 12, but later extended to September 15.

The NCOC later decided to lift them in 18 out of 24 districts on Sept 16, but continued to enforce these in six high disease prevalence districts.

A meeting of the NCOC chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar a day earlier had decided to lift additional restrictions in the remaining six districts — Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha and Gujrat in Punjab and Bannu in KP.

All educational institutions in these districts will open from September 23 and follow staggered opening (50 per cent attendance, three days a week), it was decided in the meeting.