ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced a ban on holding rallies across the country amid rise in the number of coronavirus cases during the second wave. Addressing the nation after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on the COVID-19 in Islamabad on Monday, PM Imran Khan said that COVID-19 is rapidly spreading across the country and no gathering of more than 300 people will be allowed and people should wear the masks. He said that his party has postponed the Saturday’s scheduled public rally in Rashakai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and asked other political parties to postpone their rallies. The prime minister said that many decisions have been made in today’s meeting and the government doesn’t want situation like June in the country. He said the decision regarding schools would be taken next week and if they feel that schools are becoming source of spreading the virus they would give extended winter vacations and would cover the loss of the educational calendar by reducing summer vacations. PM Khan appealed the nation to strictly follow the Standard Operating Procedures, including wearing of face masks and observing social distancing, to prevent spread of COVID-19. He said that with the blessing of Allah Almighty and the nation s cooperation, we remained successful in protecting people s lives and their economies during the first wave of the pandemic.
The premier said the second wave is continuing these days and we need to again adhere to the practice and resilience shown previously. He said Pakistan was the only Muslim country, which did not close its mosques during Ramadan as our Ulema and prayer leaders vehemently observed SOPs to contain spread of the contagion. He said: “We are not going to close factories, shops, and other businesses in a bid to continue economic activities in the country, but there is a need of strict observance of precautionary measures again to slow down spread of the Coronavirus.” Imran Khan went on to say that the marriage halls will be bound to ensure that there should not be more than 300 guests at a gathering, and they will be further encouraged to organize their events in open spaces. He said it will be mandatory for guests to wear face masks, while observing social distancing during the event, adding restaurants are also required to strictly implement these SOPs. “We are constantly monitoring the situation and the decision to close schools or allowing them to continue their activities will be taken after one month,” the prime minister said and added winter vacations can be enlarged, while summer leaves be reduced if COVID situation aggravates. He expressed the belief that we will be successful in protecting lives of our people and the country s economy if nation strictly follows the precautionary measures to prevent spread of the Coronavirus. NNI