Pakistan will ban air travel for anyone without a coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine certificate from August 1, and will require all public sector workers to get vaccinated by August 31, the government announced yesterday, along with a host of other restrictions.
From August 31, unvaccinated staff will no longer be allowed to enter government offices, schools, restaurants or shopping malls, said Asad Umar, who heads National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), a military-run body that oversees the pandemic response, at a joint news conference with the health minister in Islamabad.
Teachers and students above 18, public transport and retail staff will also be required to get vaccinated, they said.
Pakistan has seen coronavirus infections soar, dominated by Delta variant, and its poor health infrastructure is under extreme pressure.
The national positive test rate for Covid-19 stands at 7.53%, according to the NCOC.
The rate in the southern port city of Karachi touched 23% in recent weeks.
“If you’re not vaccinated, you can’t go to teach at schools and colleges from August 1,” Umar said. “We can’t put our children’s lives at risk just because that you’re not ready to get the vaccine.”
After a sluggish start, the government ramped up its national vaccination drive, especially in the heartland Punjab province, with 850,000 doses administered on Wednesday across the country.
Umar said the target is to touch 1mn doses a day.
According to the NCOC, more than 27.8mn people have now received at least one vaccine shot, while 5.9mn have been fully vaccinated, out of a population of 220mn.
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