1,300 virus hotspots sealed nation-wide after rise in coronavirus cases

Authorities have identified and sealed off nearly 1,300 coronavirus hotspots across the country on Saturday to contain the rising trajectory of new infections.

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The sealing of high-risk areas comes as government’s Covid-19 portal reported 6,472 new cases in the last 24 hours, the country’s highest single-day total.

Pakistan has reported 132,405 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including 2,551 deaths since its first case emerged on Feb 26.

After initially imposing a countrywide lockdown, the government has now eased restrictions, saying it was necessary to save the country’s economy, but it has caused a surge in infections.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted demands from experts to reinforce the lockdown.

Authorities, however, are now using the term “smart lockdown” to close shops and markets and force people to stay home in areas where confirmed cases have increased in recent weeks.

According to Radio Pakistan, smart lockdowns have been imposed in certain virus hotspots around the country.

  • In Punjab, a smart lockdown has been imposed in 844 areas.
  • In Sindh, a smart lockdown has been imposed in seven areas.
  • In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a smart lockdown has been imposed in 414 areas.
  • In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), a smart lockdown has been imposed in 12 areas.
  • In Gilgit-Baltistan, a smart lockdown has been imposed in five areas.

Some residential areas were also sealed in the capital, Islamabad, to contain the spread of the virus.

The capital administration sealed two sub-sectors in G-9 from Friday night after the number of Covid-19 cases there reached 300.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat said the decision was taken in response to the District Health Office’s recommendation to seal G-9/2 and G-9/3 along with the sector’s markaz, commonly known as Karachi Company.

People will not be allowed out of their homes during the lockdown except to buy essentials, Shafqaat had said.

“All activities, including weddings, events and gatherings, majalis and mosques will be suspended.”

The police, army and Rangers have been asked to cordon off these areas in order to ensure public safety and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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