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Wearing of masks at public places mandatory now

ISLAMABAD: The government on Saturday declared wearing of masks mandatory at crowded places, markets and in public transport, as 3,067 more people tested positive for the deadly virus that claimed another 77 lives during the past 24 hours.

The government also decided to double the number of overseas Pakistanis being brought back daily. The announcements were made by Special Assistants to Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr Zafar Mirza and Dr Moeed Yusuf during a media briefing.

Dr Mirza said: “As 92 per cent cases have been reported through local transmission, we have declared the use of masks mandatory in markets, shopping malls, public transport, commercial flights, trains and crowded places.”

Expressing concern over some baseless information regarding Covid-19 being circulated on the social media, Dr Mirza said: “Even prominent and responsible personalities share that information on the social media. I don’t want to mention the name but a prominent religious scholar suggested to people that they should not go to the hospital if their Covid-19 test is detected positive. I appeal to the people to provide correct information to the masses.”

Till date over 33,000 stranded overseas Pakistanis had been brought from over 50 countries, he added.

While talking about resumption of routine flight operations, he said that only flights from Pakistan to other countries had been allowed and it was incorrect to say that anyone could come to Pakistan through routine flights.

Dr Yusuf said borders with China and India would remain closed though some hundred Pakistanis were allowed to return from India in three intervals.

“As per agreement of Afghan Transit Trade goods are being sent to Afghanistan. As Nato supply also goes there, around 250 trucks are being allowed through Torkham and Chaman borders daily. Moreover, once in a week 500 Pakistanis are allowed to return through Torkham and 300 through Chaman border,” he said.

He said there was no restriction on the Afghan nationals staying in Pakistan to return to their home country.

Shehryar tests positive

Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi on Saturday revealed that he also became victim of Covid-19.

“I have tested positive of Covid-19 & have isolated myself at home as per advice by medics. I need prayers & blessings. May Allah almighty help save all my countrymen from the pandemic under my PM,” he tweeted.

Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani and other leaders had also tested positive for Covid-19 and recovered.

Ghani tweeted a “get well soon” message to Afridi, while Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari also wished him well on Twitter. “You’re strong and will recover in no time InshaAllah,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples Party has shown concern over the continuous increase in number of virus cases.

PPP Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said as many as 96 deaths [according to his claim], including four of doctors, has made the situation serious. He said: “Rulers should adopt responsible attitude and don’t become a locust of demolition.”

The total number of Covid-19 cases has surged to 68,283 from 24,954 on May 7 when Prime Minister Imran Khan announced further easing of lockdown till the month end, while the death toll has increased from 593 to 1,441 during this period.

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