A woman rides on a motor bike as she wears a protective face mask amid the rush of people outside a market in Karachi, Pakistan, in June 2020.. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday reported 1,078 cases of coronavirus in a day for the first time since July, when it recorded 1,074 cases.

According to the National Health Services (NHS) Ministry’s portal, Pakistan’s daily death toll has also jumped and on Friday 20 deaths were reported taking the total number of fatalities to 6,795.

Pakistan’s coronavirus cases have risen to 332,186 with 11,864 active cases.

Highest positivity rate of 3% in 70 days

Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in the COVID-19 positivity ratio in recent days. A day earlier, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar had said the national positivity rate had exceeded 3 percent after more than 70 days.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid also urged the nation to wear face masks and practice social distancing to curb the spread of the virus. “If standard operating procedures (SOPs) are not followed, I’m afraid we will have to resort to stricter measures,” she warned.

“COVID-19 reached its highest rate of 3% after 70 days today (national). People are advised strongly to wear masks, keep social distancing for themselves & for others. If SOPs are not followed, I’m afraid we will have to resort to stricter measures,” said Dr Yasmin Rashid in her tweet.

Courts sealed after judges, staff test positive

Meanwhile, a number of district and session courts were closed in Islamabad after judges and staff there tested positive for COVID-19.

The district and the health administration have sealed 11 such courts out of 70 where 12 judges and staff were diagnosed with the disease. The sealed courts are three courts of additional and sessions judge, a senior civil judge court and seven courts of civil judges, said an official of the District Health Office (DHO).

According to a notice issued by the Islamabad District Bar Association Secretary Nabeel Tahir Mirza the situation has become dangerous because of violations of standard operating procedure (SOP), even though all members were repeatedly advised to follow these rules.

It said that 11 judges and court staffers have contracted the disease as a result, and the courts will be closed for 14 days.

NCOC launches WhatsApp number

Meanwhile, the National Command & Operation Control (NCOC) has launched a WhatsApp number “for registration of COVID-19 related violations by the public.”

A message on the website of the NHS ministry says, “If you come across any violation of COVID SOPs like non-wearing of mask, non-adherence to social distancing, overcrowding at public places etc, please take a picture and brief account of violation and send it to 03353336262 (0335333NCOC) along with location time and city details”