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Asad warns of another lockdown if COVID-19 cases continue to rise

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning Asad Umar has urged the people to take COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) seriously.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, the minister warned of another lockdown if cases continue to rise, saying the government “may have to take restrictive actions which have negative effects on people’s livelihoods”.
The minister said there are unmistakable signs of the rise of coronavirus in the country. He said the national positivity of COVID-19 cases was 2.37 percent on Wednesday. This is the highest positivity in more than fifty days. He said that 11 virus deaths on average have been reported during the first four days of this week.
The federal minister also noted that COVID-19 positivity is “extremely high” in Muzaffarabad, “high” in Karachi, and “rising” in Lahore and Islamabad.
“Time for all of us to take COVID sop’s seriously again. Otherwise, unfortunately, we may have to take restrictive actions that have negative effects on people’s livelihoods,” he warned.
Meanwhile, two Punjab ministers, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 756 new Covid-19 positive cases emerged in the country, said National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) on Thursday.
Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal took a COVID-19 test after he felt unwell on Wednesday evening. The result of his test came back positive, after which he put himself in quarantine at his home.
Minister for Agriculture Hussain Jahanian Gardezi was declared COVID-19 positive after he got himself tested. He opted for a test after he felt unwell last evening, his spokesperson said, adding that he has isolated himself and postponed all public activities until recovery from the disease.
Meanwhile, seven more people died of complications caused by the coronavirus in Punjab overnight, taking the number of fatalities from the disease in the province to 2,277. As many as 223 new cases emerged, pushing the provincial tally of infections to 101,237. More than 1.4 million tests have been conducted across the province so far.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus claimed 13 more lives in Pakistan over the previous 24 hours, pushing the death toll from the deadly disease to 6,614.
As many as 756 new COVID-19 positive cases emerged after 31,862 samples were tested during this period, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). The total number of infections reported so far in the country has soared to 321,218.
A total of 315 patients recovered from the disease during the past 24 hours, lifting the tally of recoveries to 305,395. There are a total of 9,209 active cases in the country. Of the total patients under treatment, 533 are said to be in critical condition.
So far, Sindh has reported 140,997 cases, Punjab 101,237, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 38,464, Balochistan 15,599, Islamabad 17,681, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 3,258, and Gilgit Baltistan 3,982. – TLTP