Govt announces reopening of educational institutes, sports activities, tourism sector

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ISLAMABAD (News10) – As the number of coronavirus cases continue to decline in Pakistan as the country reported 21 deaths and confirmed 727 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the government on Thursday decided to reopen tourism sector, sports activities and educational institutes.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that hotels in tourist areas will be opened from August 8, while Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be issued for restaurants and cafeterias.

Announcing the resumption of sports activities in the country, he said that the gyms will be allowed to open from August 10, adding that the permission is being granted for the resumption of kabaddi, wrestling, rugby, other sports.

The minister further said that cinemas and theater halls will open from August 10, while the federal government will also give permission for public transport to resume, he said.

He said restrictions on already operational trains and airlines will be lifted in October. Similarly the road transport will be allowed to operate from Monday but passengers will not be allowed to travel by standing in Metro buses.

Asad Umar said that marriage halls will be allowed to function from 15th of September whereas beauty parlors will be allowed to open from Monday as well.

He said restrictions on already operational trains and airlines will be lifted in October. Similarly the road transport will be allowed to operate from Monday but passengers will not be allowed to travel by standing in Metro buses.

“All educational institutions will reopen on September 15,” Asad Umer said, adding that the decision will be once again reviewed on September 7 by the education minister in consultation with the health ministry.

Asad Umer went on to say that all tourist spots and hotels in the country will reopen on August 8, adding that they have been instructed to follow all preventive measures. “All restaurants and cafes, both outdoor and indoor, will reopen on August 10,” he added.

Regarding the opening of recreational spots, the minister said parks, cinemas and theatres will resume operations on August 10 and detailed SOPs are being prepared and must be followed.

He said permission was also being given for opening shrines, however, in case of a large gathering, citizens will be bound to follow the guidelines issued by the provincial government. Ban on pillion riding was also lifted with SOPs, he said.

Asad Umar said that SOPs have been devised regarding Muharram-ul-Haram in consultation with the religious scholars. He said that all businesses and shops are allowed to resume functioning according to normal timings.

The minister said: “The government has decided to open all business centres, expo halls, beauty parlours and spas from August 10, adding that the timings of different shops will be reverted too. They will go back to operating the way they were before the coronavirus pandemic.”


Pakistan’s COVID-19 cases, deaths decline


The number of coronavirus cases continue to decline in Pakistan as the country reported 727 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. According to the latest figures, the number of total coronavirus cases in Pakistan has reached 281,863 and the death toll stands at 6,035.

A trend of declining case numbers come from over 256,000 people having fully recovered from the virus. Now the nation of over 200 million has a total of 19,770 active cases of the virus.

The government said it has successfully curbed the virus infection by implementing rapid and strict measures, as the country is implementing locality-based lockdown rather than nationwide restrictions. However, 809 patients are still in critical condition and being treated in the intensive care units of various hospitals in the country.

Meanwhile, the number of tests administered since the outbreak reached the country rose to 2.06 million, as 15,001 more people were tested over the last 24 hours. 


Public awareness drive to contain COVID-19 spread


Earlier today, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had decided to gear up media campaign for public awareness for containing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The NCOC meeting chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar discussed Epi Curve Chart data, recommendations for NCC meeting on negative list, standard operating procedures (SOPs) for opening of schools and comparative analysis.

The forum was briefed that since the visible decline in coronavirus pandemic in the country a general complacency in the masses was observed where no mask wearing and social distancing were observed outdoors. However, the media campaigns and messaging about COVID-19 on television channels should be enhanced and revitalized to ensure public adherence to safety guidelines.

The forum noted that the awareness campaign on COVID-19 to make the public realize that the deadly disease had not vanished rather lingering on which needed to be dealt with care and compliance of SOPs.

The NCOC was briefed that in mid-June, as the number of COVID-19 patients boomed and the burden on hospitals increased, the government took practical steps to add 2150 oxygenated beds across the country by July 31 to increase the capacity of hospitals. As a result of the visits of special teams to all the provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), efforts were made to put in place practical measures to add 2850 oxygenated beds.

So far, 2608 new oxygenated beds have been added to hospitals across the country, including 80 in AJK, 264 in Balochistan, 100 in GB, 400 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 787 in Punjab, 351 in Sindh and 626 in Islamabad.

Moreover, ramp up was underway to add 242 more new oxygenated beds (10 in KP, 17 in Punjab and 215 in Sindh).

Federal Minister for Interior Brig (Retd) Ejaz Ahmed Shah, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Khusroo Bakhtiyar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar and other also attended the meeting.

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