Govt. announced Eid Vacations with a “Stay Home-Stay Safe” message

Muhammad Yasir

In an attempt to contain further rise in already mounting the novel coronavirus cases during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Thursday announced holidays from May 10 to 15 with a “clear intention of reducing national mobility”.

NCOC, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, also announced comprehensive guidelines by the name of “STAY HOME-STAY SAFE — Eid-ul-Fitr-2021 from 8-16 May 2021”. The NCOC has also imposed a ban on chand raat bazaars, including mehendi, jewelry, and clothing stalls — from 8-16 May.

The statement said that all markets, businesses and shops will remain closed except for essential services including grocery store, pharmacies, bakeries, vegetable, fruit, chicken and meat shops and petrol pumps.

Furthermore the federal government, earlier, had announced a new set of restrictions, including a blanket ban on tourism and inter-provincial transport. According to the Ministry of Interior, fresh restrictions also included the closure of all tourist resorts, hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, parks, beaches, and other public places from May 8 to 16.

Travel nodes leading to the tourist destinations, particularly the scenic valleys of Murree, Swat, and northern Gilgit-Baltistan region, which attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the country during Eid holidays, will also remain closed during the said period, the ministry added. There will be a complete ban on inter-provincial and inter-city transport during the Eid holidays, except for the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan, who will be allowed to travel to their hometowns.

Meanwhile, food will be allowed to be taken from restaurants, and the power supply will continue uninterrupted during the Eid holidays.

The country on Thursday 29th April recorded another 5,480 new cases and 151 deaths, raising the total caseload and death toll to 815,711 and 17,680 respectively. Health authorities warned of a situation similar to that in virus-ravaged India if the cases continued to rise at the current rate in the coming weeks.

Earlier, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had announced that it will not be issuing new notes on Edi ul Fitr this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.“Like last year, we will not be issuing new banknotes on Eid ul Fitr due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic,” said the SBP in a statement.

NCOC also announced that comprehensive SOPs/guidelines will also be issued for Yom-e-Ali, Itekaf, Shabe-e-Wadar, Jumma-tul-Wida and Eid prayers by May 1.

Pakistan’s coronavirus positivity ratio jumped to 9.6% after the country reported over 5,000 new infections in the last 24 hours. According to the official data provided by the NCOC, 5,480 people tested positive for the coronavirus, after 57,013 tests were conducted across the country.

The total tally of COVID-19 cases now stands at 815,711, with most cases reported in Punjab. The number of recoveries nationwide has reached 708,193 so far, while the number of active cases in the country stands at 89,838 as of today.A day earlier, Pakistan reported the highest single-day death toll recorded since the pandemic started last year with over 200 new fatalities.