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Record Covid-19 cases reported in a single day

The country witnessed a record rise in Covid-19 cases on Friday, a day before lifting of the nationwide lockdown in phases announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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Although the decision to lift the lockdown from Saturday was taken in consultation with all the provinces, Punjab and Sindh on Friday expressed their desire to extend the lockdown restrictions for some more time.

With the addition of 2,000 new cases during the last 24 hours, the total number of infections in the country on Friday stood at 26,954.

Prime Minister Khan, after chairing a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Thursday, announced the lifting of the lockdown by opening several industries, businesses and markets from Saturday (today).

On Friday, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said they wanted to extend the lockdown but agreed to the Centre’s call at the NCC meeting that the restrictions should be lifted from Saturday.

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“It was our desire that the lockdown should be extended, but we agreed to whatever decided at the NCC meeting on Thursday,” CM Shah said at a press briefing.

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The PTI-led Punjab government took a step forward and recommended that major cities of the province should remain under lockdown as there was an increasing trend of the viral disease there. “We want continuation of lockdown in eight to 10 cities, including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan and Gujranwala,” Mr Chohan said at a press conference.

In a related development, the federal government expressed its surprise and dismay over Sindh chief minister’s remarks that Islamabad was imposing its decision regarding ending the lockdown.

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Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, who also heads the National Command and Operation Centre, in a television programme categorically on Friday evening, said that all decisions were made with the approval of the provincial governments. He even said that some of the federal government’s proposals on which there were objections, or difference of opinion, were not included as the government wanted to have complete consensus on the matter.

Prime Minister Khan has urged people to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) evolved by the government when the lockdown is lifted, otherwise there will be trajectory of Covid-19 and then the government will have no option but to enforce another lockdown.

The prime minister presided over a meeting on Friday to review the economic situation and its future outlook in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The finance ministry briefed the meeting on the overall situation and the performance of various macroeconomic indicators during the last nine months of the current financial year, as well as the impact of coronavirus on the economy, an official press release said.

The meeting reviewed the progress and impact of the Rs1.25 trillion economic stimulus package announced by the government to provide relief to the poor and vulnerable segments of society and support various sectors of the economy affected by the pandemic.

Posted on May 9, 2020

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