Islamabad, March 16: Pakistan on Wednesday lifted all coronavirus related restrictions imposed across the country, saying it "has come close to eliminating the pandemic".
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, who heads the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) against COVID-19, in a press conference here said, "We have decided that all restrictions we have imposed related to the coronavirus on weddings, indoor dining and markets, we are ending all of them."
He, however, said that all restrictions on those not vaccinated against the coronavirus would remain, the Dawn newspaper reported. He said that removal of restrictions does not mean that the pandemic was over and the government would continue to monitor the situation and restrictions could be re-imposed if the situation changed.
"We need a transition process towards a normal, ordinary life because it seems at the moment that the pandemic will continue and become a part of our lives,” he said. He also added that the threat for the non-vaccinated people was not over and all restrictions on them would remain until 80-85 per cent of the eligible population was fully vaccinated.
Umar said so far 87 per cent of the eligible population had been given at least one shot of the vaccine while 70 per cent had been fully vaccinated, which he said was the chief reason for turning the tide against the virus. 31 Pc of Pakistan's Youth Currently Unemployed.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Faisal Sultan said at the press briefing that there was no clear sign that the disease prevalence would rise again. "We will keep monitoring the situation continuously and see where cases are [increasing] globally and in Pakistan and if a change in strategy is needed," he said.
The announcement comes as Pakistan registered 493 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the number of confirmed cases to 1,520,120 while another four people died in this period, pushing the death toll to 30,317, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.