Army, Rangers to help implement coronavirus SOPs, says PM Imran

Asad Umar announces raft of new measures to contain coronavirus spread

By: News Desk      Published: 03:17 PM, 23 Apr, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan
Imran Khan

In view of the deteriorating situation with respect to the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that now the jawans of Pakistan Army and Rangers, along with police personnel, would make people comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs), reported 24NewsHD TV channel. 

Appealing to the people to comply with the Covid-19 guidelines, Prime Minister Imran Khan stated categorically that in case of their failure to do so, situation like the one in India could develop here in Pakistan as well. 

Telling people that the coronavirus was spreading fast, Imran Khan warned that if people did not take the precautionary measures, the government might have to impose complete lockdown in cities.

PM Imran said his advisers were urging him to announce complete lockdown today. “But the reason why I am not going for this option is that I do not want people belonging to lower strata of the society to suffer,” he elaborated.  

Imran Khan said the government will seek the Pakistan Army and Ranges’ help to enforce the SOPs. Addressing concerns about the slow pace of Covid-19 vaccination, he said there is a shortage of vaccine the worldwide, assuring that the government is trying its level best to procure the vaccine for the country.

"Barely anyone is following SOPs anymore," he said, adding that if we are not careful, the situation in Pakistan will be similar to that of India in the next one or two weeks.

The prime minister was speaking after chairing the meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) which reviewed the current pandemic situation in the country.

The session was attended by chief ministers, ministers and chief secretaries, which reviewed the latest COVID-19 numbers and decided to impose further restrictions as the third wave of coronavirus wreaks havoc in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said that schools will remain closed till Eidul Fitr in areas where five or more than five percent of cases have been reported.

Read More: Prime Minister Imran Khan tests positive for coronavirus 

Similarly, he said, there would be no outdoor services at restaurants till Eid while offices will also be closed at 2PM. 

The minister further said that shops selling essential items would only remain open after 6 PM while all the four provincial governments would together make the plan for imposing the lockdown.

Regarding air travel restrictions, Asad Umar said a detailed policy is being made under which the number of passengers coming to Pakistan will be cut down. “Passengers’ testing and quarantine will also be decided.”

Pakistan, the minister said, is utilizing 90% of the oxygen produced so the government is working to enhance the capacity and will import the gas if needed.

Important NCC decisions

-Schools in cities with positivity rates above 5% closed until Eid, including classes 9-12

-Markets to stay open till 6pm. Only essential businesses can operate after 6 pm. A list of essential business will be issued.

-Outdoor and indoor dining banned until Eid. Takeaway and deliveries will be allowed.

-Indoor gyms to be closed.

-Offices capacity at 50% and are to be closed daily at 2pm. 

-Eid shopping will not be possible after iftar.

-50% work from home policy to be implemented in offices. 

Read More: Masks mandatory, shops to close at 10PM as NCOC issues new guidelines