With over 2,300 new cases, Pakistan records highest single-day COVID-19 infections since July

Islamabad: Pakistan recorded its highest single-day coronavirus cases and fatalities in four months. The second wave of coronavirus in Pakistan has infected 2,304 people during the last 24 hours, according to the latest statistics by the National Command and Operations (NCOC).

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At least 37 people lost their lives to the virus on November 12 while another 55 have been declared critical. The country last reported similar number of cases in mid-July.

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Increased political activities in Pakistan, the lax attitude of the people, slackened restrictions and arrival of winter have all resulted in a sharp spike in coronavirus cases, infecting several people including lawmakers, politicians and doctors.

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NDMA chief tests positive

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National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal, who emerged as a saviour during the peak pandemic days by arranging critical medical equipment for Pakistanis, is the latest victim of the coronavirus infection.

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NDMA chief is in quarantine and would continue to work from home, an official statement said.

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Judge dies of COVID-19

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Former prime minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Raja Pervez Ashraf has been tested positive for coronavirus.

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On Thursday, Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice, Waqar Ahmad Seth, who has presided a number of high-profile cases, died at a hospital in Islamabad after contracting coronavirus.

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Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar, husband of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz, and PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira also tested positive for coronavirus this week.

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Positivity ratio increasing

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The National Command and Operation Centre, the organization leading the national fight against COVID-19, has warned that the positivity ratio is “rapidly increasing in major cities”, with the rate exceeding 15 per cent in three cities – Hyderabad, Multan and Gilgit.

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Fresh restrictions

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Pakistan has issued fresh restrictions including work-from-home policy for half of the staff in both public and private sector, amplified smart lockdowns in urban areas, banning social gatherings, wedding ceremonies from November 20. The government has also decided to fine those not wearing masks between Rs100 to 500.

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NCOC has suggested the following measures pending approval from all stakeholders:

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• Ban on all public gatherings of more than 500 people including political, cultural, religious and civil society gatherings

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• Early and extended winter vacations in schools

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• Only outdoor dining till 10pm and take-away

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• Closing down cinemas, theatres and shrines

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• Early closing of markets

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Decision on schools next week

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Officials have recommended early and extended winter vacations for students amid a spike in the COVID-19 cases at educational institutions.

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A final decision about the closure of schools will be taken on November 16.

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