Pakistan bans rallies amid rising coronavirus cases

Pakistan on Monday imposed a ban on “all kinds of” public rallies in an attempt to stem the rising tide of coronavirus cases across the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a televised address to the nation, warned that if the COVID-19 cases continued to surge with the current pace, the country’s hospitals will be running out of space.

The move coincides with an ongoing sit-in of a religious group near capital Islamabad to protest against the republication of insulting cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in France last month.

Also, the country’s 11-party opposition alliance, which has launched a campaign to oust Khan from power, plans to hold rallies across the country in coming days.

Khan came under a scathing criticism for addressing a big public rally in northeastern Punjab province earlier this month despite warnings from the health experts.

The government has also banned indoor weddings, allowing only out-door ceremonies with not more than 300 people.

Khan said the government is also considering announcing the winter vacations before the schedule, and a decision in this regard will be taken next week.

“If corona[virus] cases are [found] on the rise because of the schools, then the government may increase the duration of winter vacations,” he maintained.

On Monday, Pakistan recorded 2,128 new coronavirus cases, pushing the country’s overall caseload to 359,032, including 7,160 fatalities and 323,824 recoveries.

According to Khan, the number of coronavirus cases have soared four times over the past 10 days.

Authorities, in an attempt to contain the fresh wave of infections, had already reimposed “smart” lockdown restrictions, including closure of cinemas and theaters, and a ban on indoor weddings and public gatherings.

Source: Anadolu Agency