Face masks made mandatory in public places, offices

The coronavirus positivity rate hit 10.66% in Islamabad. Source: FILE.

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday made it mandatory to wear face masks in crowded public places.

The national body has made it mandatory to wear face masks in public places including bazaars, shopping malls, restaurants and while using public transport. In addition, face masks must be worn in all government and private sector offices.

The centre noted that the spread of the virus and the increased positivity ratio is 80 per cent in 11 major cities of Pakistan. The meeting was informed that 4,374 lockdowns have been imposed in eleven cities including Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Mirpur, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad.

The provinces have been directed by the NCOC for adopting strict measures for ensuring the usage of face masks by its citizens in view of the rising cases of coronavirus pandemic.

The directives were issued a session chaired by the federal minister Asad Umar which was attended by Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, Secretary Health Amir Ashraf Khawaja, National Institute of Health (NIH) head Major General Amir Ikram,  CEO Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), while provincial officials joined the meeting via video link.

Earlier this month, the NCOC had expressed concerns over the surge in coronavirus cases and mortality rate. It expressed concern at the alarming increase in the positivity rate, hospital admissions and deaths from the deadly virus.

Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan has stated that with the beginning of the second coronavirus wave, strict restrictions would need to be imposed again and a plan would be chalked out soon.

He added that the restrictions would be tightened in the cities where the positivity ratio of the virus was high. He said new recommendations would be presented soon in consultation in all the provinces.

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