Govt Announces Its Decision on Lockdown

The federal government has decided against imposing a complete lockdown in the country for now while reducing the business and office hours in the areas where the prevalence of the coronavirus exceeds five percent. This was declared during an important meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) in Islamabad on Friday to review the pandemic situation in the country.

The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan and was attended by the chief ministers and the chief secretaries of all the provinces, as well as other concerned federal ministers.

Addressing the media after the meeting, the PM urged the masses to follow the COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) to avoid a ‘complete lockdown.’ He also stated that the decision about the lockdown has been deferred for now, and that it will affect the working class and their businesses.


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“People are telling me to impose a lockdown today, but we are not going to do so because, and I keep repeating this, that daily wagers and laborers suffer the most,” he said.

The premier reiterated the need to follow the mask mandate and urged people to follow SOPs the same way they had last Ramadan.

“Pakistan was the only country which had kept mosques open last year during Ramazan. I was proud of the way our religious scholars and imams informed the people about precautionary measures,” he said, adding,

“If needed,  help will be taken from the Pakistan Army to implement coronavirus SOPs”.

The PM remarked that “barely anyone is following SOPs anymore,” and that if we are not careful, the pandemic situation will be similar to that of India in the next one or two weeks.

As per sources, health officials had recommended a lockdown in the cities where the prevalence rate of the coronavirus is more than 10 percent, which includes Lahore in particular.

However, the government has decided to go about it in a phased manner.


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Earlier on Thursday, Minister Asad Umar and the Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, had called on the PM at the PM’s Office. During their meeting, the PM was given a detailed briefing on the ongoing pandemic situation across Pakistan, following which a meeting of the NCC on Friday, 23 April at 12 PM (today) was called for based on his approval.

Important Decisions Taken in the NCOC Meeting

During the briefing, Minister Umar said that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had been tasked with formulating a plan with the provinces in light of rising coronavirus cases. He stated that as per the decisions:

  • The schools in the districts with a positivity rate of more than 5 percent will be closed down, including the classes of Grades 9 to 12.
  • The markets in these areas will be closed at 6 PM, and only essential services will be allowed after that.
  • The restrictions on indoor dining will remain in place but outdoor dining will be banned until Eid, while takeaway will be allowed.
  • Office timings will end at 2 PM.


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In case of a complete lockdown, business activities in the specified cities will be suspended and all the public and private offices will be closed.

Pakistan has had 5,870 new cases of coronavirus and 144 deaths from it in the last 24 hours. The current positivity ratio has been recorded at 10.17 percent, and there are 84,935 active cases in the country as of now.

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