Islamabad: The Pakistani government has decided to scrap all Covid-19 restrictions amid a continuous decline in the number of new cases, with experts and officials calling for continued surveillance and vaccination process.
Asad Umar, chairman of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which oversees the country’s response to the pandemic, said on Wednesday that Pakistan is removing restrictions as it has come close to eliminating the pandemic in the country, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We have decided that all the restrictions we have imposed related to the coronavirus. We are ending all of them … We need a transition process towards a normal, ordinary life,” he said during a press conference in Islamabad.
However, Umar said that all restrictions on citizens not vaccinated against the virus would remain in place until 80-85 per cent of the eligible population was fully jabbed, adding that the government would keep monitoring the disease prevalence on a daily basis to decide for any change in policy in future.
Pakistan witnessed a major decline in the daily Covid-19 case count.
The country reported 493 new infections over the past 24 hours, with the positivity rate falling to 1.42 per cent, the NCOC said.
Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, the country has registered 1,520,634 confirmed cases and 30,319 deaths.
Pakistani experts and officials believe that though the restrictions are being lifted in the country, the threat of the pandemic is not over yet, urging the public to continue taking precautions and vaccines to fully defeat the deadly disease.
Speaking to Xinhua, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan said that Pakistan has successfully overcome the challenge of Covid-19 due to prudent policies and measures taken by the government.
Provincial governments, healthcare professionals, media, and scholars played a vital role in controlling the pandemic, he said, adding that vigorous vaccination process helped the country in curbing the virus spread.
At the moment, more than 70 per cent of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated, and over 80 per cent have received at least one dose of a Covid jab, “which is quite encouraging” for the country of over 220 million population, Sultan said.