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.
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.
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.
“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.
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) April 23, 2021
“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. 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.