Covid-19 cases in Islamabad surge back to 650 from 241

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Markets closure for second consecutive day hurts daily wage workers, small businessmen


Zubair Qureshi

After a lull of one day, the federal capital on Sunday saw a surge in the cases of Covid-19 and 650 new cases were recorded in the past twenty-four hours.

A day earlier, 241 cases were reported leading to the hope that Covid-19 cases might decline in the coming days.

However, the return of the virus as reported on Sunday has once again sent a clear message the situation was far from being under control.

According to the District Health Officer (DHO) of Islamabad Dr Zaeem Zia, 650 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, up from 241 a day earlier and five more deaths were reported in the same period.

The capital’s total number of infections has risen to 69,556 while its death toll with 5 deaths in the past twenty-four hours is 636, further said the DHO.

Positivity rate in the capital remained at 11.8 percent that shows the situation is worsening and there is little chance of schools (from grade 9 to grade 12) reopening from Monday (today).

The daily wage labourers, catering staff at restaurants and small businessmen have complained closure of two-day businesses saying it was hurting their business as in Ramazan customers visited the restaurants at Iftaar and do shopping in the markets in the evening during the weekend but the district administration by directing them to keep their businesses closed that is hurting them badly.

A number of daily wage workers at the Peshawar Morr G-9/4 said their monthly income has reduced to almost half as they have to spend the weekends without work.

Ikram, a waiter at a local restaurant said the government should reconsider its decision and instead of closing restaurants for two days a week should allow them to work the whole week.

This will decrease the chance of crowding at restaurants as families and general customers could visit these shops and restaurants at any time.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Education & Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood after chairing a special online meeting that was attended by education ministers and health ministers of the provinces including the AJK and GB announced that schools for the senior classes (grade 9-12) would resume normal work only in those districts where Covid positivity is 8 per cent or less than that.

In districts where coronavirus positivity rate is above 8 pc senior school classes will be held only in staggered manner, said the minister.

However, he made it clear there was no chance of resuming classes from I to VIII in the Covid-19 affected districts.

In the light of the government decision, it is unlikely that Islamabad’s schools will be holding normal classes from Monday, said a senior official of the health department while talking to Pakistan Observer on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration’s operation against violations of coronavirus Standard Operating procedures (SOPs), price hike and over-charging of food and vegetable items by the shopkeepers continued.

The City Magistrate visited shops and markets in the G-10 area and carried out price checking, implementation of Covid SOPs, and ban on polythene bags in various markets of the Sector G-10 and local areas.

On the occasion, 13 shops were fined for overcharging and a fine of Rs 16,000 was imposed.