Islamabad: As the holiday weekend approaches, Prime Minister Imran Khan warns people on Monday to remain vigilant of Eid al-Fitr amid fears of a coronavirus surge. The main tourist attractions in the country will remain closed during Eid al-Adha because health officials urge people to “stay home and save lives.”
In his public address, Imran Khan praised the country’s declining trend in COVID-19 but warned that Pakistan could see a surge in cases due to a large gathering at Eid if people do not adhere to health guidelines. “If we will not be careful during Eid and Muharram, then cases can quickly rise again,” the Pakistani premier urged everyone to refrain from repeating mistakes made during Eid which could affect life and the economy and burden the system health.
He advised citizens to wear masks and follow social distance guidelines, citing the example of Australia and Spain which must enter the second lockdown, because people do not obey the guidelines after relaxation. “If Pakistanis pay attention to Eid, together we can defeat the virus. And if the situation improves after that, we will immediately open restaurants, businesses, tourist areas, schools and universities as well as with applicable guidelines, “PM Khan said.
Pakistan will celebrate a three-day holiday on Eid al-Adha from 31 July to 2 August.
“Don’t make plans to visit tourist attractions”: DC Islamabad
The Islamabad government announced it was closing all public places and tourist destinations in the city from 27 July to 2 August. “I ask all of you not to make plans for this Lebaran outdoor activity. Stay at home and save lives, “Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat said on Twitter. The city government has closed the Murree Expressway, Margalla Hills and all parks, entertainment venues, hotels and picnic areas until the last day of the Eid holiday in an effort to prevent a large gathering on Eid.
Punjab enforces smart locking until August 5
The Punjab government announced the adoption of ‘smart locking’ in the province from July 28 to August 5, in an effort to curb the spread of the corona virus during Eid. “All retail stores, markets, shopping centers will remain closed,” the notification said, however, the pharmacy postal service, gas station and takeaway / home delivery for restaurants will be allowed to function. The provincial government decided to reintroduce partial locking after Punjab reported zero deaths on July 26 for the first time in two months.
Residents urged not to avoid trips to remote areas
Planning Minister Asad Umar, who heads the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), advises people to avoid traveling to remote areas this year to avoid putting pressure on the health system. Tourist areas that are remote and far from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir cannot afford the influx of tourists in the event of a COVID-19 surge because these areas have limited health facilities that can only serve the local population, he said.
The KP’s chief minister asked people to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at home
Although the tourism industry is one of the worst affected by the pandemic, Pakistan has decided to open up the beautiful northern region after reviewing the health situation after Eid. Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan asked residents to celebrate Eid al-Fitr simply at home reminding them that tourist attractions will remain closed. The KP government is currently working on standard operating procedures (SOP) for visitors and tour companies to re-open tourist sites gradually and safely after months of closure.
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