Pak tourist areas closed till May 16 amid surge in COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: During the meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday, the Chief Secretaries of administrative units that have popular tourist destinations requested the Pakistan tourism industry to remind everyone that tourist areas were closed till May 16 and any tourist still going there would be refused entry amid surging coronavirus cases in the country.

According to a statement, a special NCOC session, chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan, reviewed the mobility control measures being implemented across the country from May 8 to 16.

All Chief Secretaries were also in attendance, reported Dawn.
“Review of SOPs implementation during 8th to 16th May was carried out. During this duration, all markets, businesses and shops will remain closed except essential services including grocery stores, pharmacies/medical stores, medical facilities and vaccination centres, vegetable, fruit, chicken and meat shops, bakeries, petrol pumps, food takeaways and e-commerce (home delivery), utility services (electricity, natural gas, internet, cellular networks/telecom, call centres) and media,” the statement said.

It further said that there would be a complete ban on tourism for both locals and outsiders. “All tourist resorts, formal and informal picnic spots, public parks, shopping malls, all hotels and restaurants in/around tourist/picnic spots will remain closed during this duration,” it added.

The statement said bookings of all hotels had been cancelled and ban on inter-provincial, inter-city and intra-city public transport would be imposed, except on private vehicles, taxis/cabs, rickshaws with 50 per cent occupancy, reported Dawn.

“The forum showed concern on the reported violations of instructions in various cities and instructed all provinces to ensure complete compliance of instructions with full administrative control,” the statement concluded.

Later, Asad Umar, in his tweet, said: “In NCOC meeting today, Chief Secretary’s from Federating units which have popular tourist destinations, requested to remind everyone that tourist areas are closed from 8th to 16th, so please do not come, or you will be turned back. #StayHomeStaySafe.”

A day earlier Umar, who also heads the NCOC, had said danger was higher than ever.

“The need for caution is clear. The danger is higher than ever and knocking at our doors. Need the country to unite in response and achieve once again what we achieved in the first wave, for which we received global praise. Inshallah we will do it again, together,” he had tweeted.

Meanwhile, according to the NCOC data, 118 people breathed their last and 3,785 contracted the virus throughout the country in a single day.
As many as 652 patients were on ventilators while the number of active cases was 81,830. Besides, 5,416 persons were admitted to hospitals across the country. (ANI)