WHO advises Pakistan to lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise sharply

World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended health authorities of Pakistan to adopt the “two weeks off and two weeks on” lockdown strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19, local media reported on Wednesday.

WHO gave the advice following the rise in confirmed cases and deaths in the country.

On Tuesday, in letters sent by WHO to health authorities of Pakistan’s eastern Punjab and southern Sindh provinces, the two worst-hit areas in the country by the coronavirus, WHO recommended two weeks of opening businesses and two weeks of strict lockdown.

The Pakistani government began easing the lockdown from May 9, aiming at mitigating the influence on the labour class and the poor in the country.

The WHO said that after the relaxation of the lockdown, the rate of spread of COVID-19 increased in Pakistan, adding that the country does not meet any prerequisite for lifting lockdown restrictions.

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According to the data updated by the country’s health ministry, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has risen to 113,702 with 2,255 deaths.

A total of 5,385 new cases and 83 deaths were reported during the last 24 hours.

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Punjab is the worst hit with 43,460 confirmed cases, followed by Sindh where 41,303 cases were reported.

Commenting on the recommendation of WHO to impose a two-week complete lockdown, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza said that the government was pursuing a holistic strategy to combat the pandemic.

“We have to make tough policy choices to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods,’’ Mirza said.

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According to him, the government is focused on enforcement of standard operating procedures in shops, mosques and public transport and other crowded areas while easing lockdown restrictions. (Xinhua/NAN)


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