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Pakistan’s Karachi to enter partial lockdown to curb virus spread

Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, is to undergo a week-long partial lockdown starting Saturday (July 31) to curb the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant, as the city’s hospitals are close to saturation levels, the provincial chief minister said on Friday (July 30).

A day earlier, Pakistan’s federal government announced a ban on staff entering public offices, schools, restaurants, transport, shopping malls and air-travel without vaccination certificates, despite only 2.7% of the population having had the full two COVID-19 vaccine shots.

During the last 24 hours, Pakistan reported 86 deaths including 14 in Karachi, as coronavirus positivity in Sindh’s capital reached around 25%.

According to Aga Khan University Hospital, there is almost 100% prevalence of the Delta variant in the city, the chief executive of the province said.

The lockdown will focus the retail industry in the city. Essential services will be open and restaurants will only be allowed to deliver meals.

Health facilities including vaccination centres will remain open and provincial government offices will be closed during the week.

Earlier in the month, health experts had warned that the Muslim holiday and elections in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, both held in the month, could prove to be super-spreader events.

(Production: Waseem Sattar, Shahabuddin Shahab, Paul Warren, Louisa Naks)

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