ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) chief Asad Umar on Saturday shot down rumours of a “complete lockdown” to be imposed across the country, saying instead that “targeted interventions” may increase.
The federal minister was speaking in the programme Naya Pakistan where he was asked whether the government was mulling a complete lockdown across the country.
Coronavirus cases over the past couple of weeks have recorded a steep rise, as the UK variant reportedly has spread to many parts of Punjab.
“Complete lockdown is not the solution,” he said. “We tried to explain that to people during the first wave [of the coronavirus] but they did not understand. You cannot shut down the entire country and steal people’s livelihoods,” added the minister.
Umar, however, hinted at “targeted interventions”, saying that the government tries to take steps that would not affect people’s livelihoods.
The minister said the NCOC had identified coronavirus hotspot areas to provincial governments. He said the implementation of these smart lockdowns were not satisfactory.
Sheikh Rasheed says govt ‘may impose smart lockdowns’ in coming days
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had earlier said Pakistan may impose strict restrictions and smart lockdowns in the coming days; however, decision-makers will also need to assess the impact of such a decision on the poor and working classes.
Meanwhile, sources in the interior ministry had said there is no plan for an immediate lockdown in Islamabad and that any decision in this regard can only be taken on the recommendation of the NCOC.
As reports began to circulate of a nationwide lockdown, Rasheed had issued a video statement to set the record straight.