- The ease on the restriction came at a time when the country still has a rise in the number of new infections.
- Prime Minister Imran Khan said the easing of the lockdown was necessary because the lockdown was not economically sustainable.
- The medical experts in the country have expressed their fears over an increased rate of infection due to the easing of the lockdown restrictions.
Pakistan citizens flocked to the markets on Monday after the country eased lockdown restrictions imposed a month ago to help curb the spread of coronavirus. Heavy traffic was seen in areas around wholesale markets in the country’s largest city, Karachi. There were big crowds in commercial centers in the provincial capitals of Quetta and Lahore.
The ease on the restriction came at a time when the country still has a rise in the number of new infections. The ease allows businesses to operate from morning until 5:00 PM, and the people were asked to strictly adhere to social distancing rule and to go out only when it is urgent.
Large shopping malls, schools and public transport remain shut as factories and offices resume operations. Before last week’s announcement on the ease, restrictions on mosque attendance had been lifted. The country’s tally stands at 32,674 confirmed cases with 724 deaths and 8,555 recoveries.
Pakistan announced the gradual lifting of the lockdown last week, saying that it had greatly affected its economy. The Prime Minister, Imran Khan, said the easing of the lockdown was necessary because the lockdown was not economically sustainable for a country that was already experiencing an economic crisis before the outbreak of the virus.
“We know we’re doing it at a time when our curve is going up,” Khan said. “But it is not increasing as we expected.” The prime minister however urged people to take the necessary precautions so as to avoid a spike in the new cases. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had earlier estimated that Pakistan’s economy would contract by 1.5 percent due to the coronavirus lockdowns.
The medical experts in the country have expressed their fears over an increased rate of infection due to the easing of the lockdown restrictions, warning that it will definitely overwhelm the hospitals. The representative of the Pakistan Medical Association called on the government to observe the World Health Organization’s protocols and implement a strict lockdown.
The Sindh government has reopened nine of its administrative departments, including commerce, religious affairs, and human rights and industries. The country opened its border on Saturday at Chaman, in Balochistan, between 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM to allow 2,977 Afghan nationals go back to their country
Pakistan’s Planning Minister, Asad Umar, said that the country is set to use technology to identify coronavirus hotspots, so as to enforce measures to help curb the spread of the virus. Umar said that the technology will be used in data collection, adding that all the hospitals across the country had started collecting data aimed at creating a data web so as to put all the information together.
The minister said that an app has been developed by the Punjab government to help the citizens locate hospitals with enough bed capacity and ventilators. The minister called on the people to continue taking the preventive measures because it was more important since the restrictions had been lifted.