NewsPakistan

Pakistan-administered Kashmir reimposes lockdown

KARACHI, Pakistan

The government of Pakistan-administered Kashmir announced Sunday that it will reimpose a lockdown in the valley to contain the rising number of coronavirus cases and violations of health guidelines by traders and residents.

The restrictions will come into effect midnight Monday and run through the next two weeks, said a government notification.

The move comes on the heels of a relaxation in restrictions, including the resumption of domestic flights and reopening of businesses ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

All modes of transportation will be prohibited and shops, markets, shopping centers and government and private offices except for emergency services will remain closed for the next two weeks.

Last week, all four provinces of the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir, also known as Azad Kashmir, and the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region announced a gradual exit from the lockdown, a move opposed by health experts.

The lifting of restrictions resulted in crowds of people rushing to markets, with many not following the health guidelines.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has reached 38,697 with 873 deaths so far, according to Health Ministry date.

Around 70 of the cases have been reported from northeastern Punjab and southern Sindh provinces. The number of confirmed cases in Azad Kashmir is 112.

Some 11,341 patients in Pakistan have recovered.

After originating in Wuhan, China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 188 countries and regions, with Europe and the US currently the worst hit.

The pandemic has killed more than 314,000 people worldwide, with more than 4.69 million confirmed cases, while recoveries have surpassed 1.7 million, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University of the US.

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