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29 Jul, 2021 12:30

Pakistan mandates Covid-19 shots for public sector workers, vaccine passport needed for air travel, restaurants, and malls

Pakistan mandates Covid-19 shots for public sector workers, vaccine passport needed for air travel, restaurants, and malls

The Pakistani government has said it will mandate vaccinations across a number of settings from August, including government offices, schools, restaurants, and shopping malls, despite less than 5% of citizens being inoculated.

On Thursday, Asad Umar, chief of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), a military-run body in charge of the country’s pandemic response, told a news conference that people in Pakistan will need to get vaccinated or be prepared for some tough restrictions on their daily lives. 

Speaking alongside Health Minister Faisal Sultan, Umar announced that from August 1, all unvaccinated citizens will no longer be able to enter government offices, schools, restaurants, and shopping malls. Proof of vaccination will also be required for air travel, following a similar moved outlined by the Saudi government.

It was also stated that by August 31, public transport and retail staff, as well as teachers and students above the age of 18, should be inoculated.

“We can’t put our children’s lives at risk just because that you’re not ready to get the vaccine,” Umar said. 

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According to NCOC, only 5.9 million citizens have been fully jabbed in the nation of 220 million people; 27.8 million have now received at least one vaccine shot.

Umar said that the target is to administer one million doses a day. However, such a feat could still mean inoculating the whole population will take months. On Wednesday, following a slow start to the campaign, health authorities administered 850,000 shots across the country.

Official records suggest that just over 23,000 people have died from the virus in Pakistan, substantially less than most well-populated Western nations.

Authorities registered 4,497 new cases on Wednesday, with infections increasing partially due to the presence of the more contagious Delta variant. However, the positivity rate suggests the virus is much more prevalent, with the percentage of tests coming back positive standing at 7.53%, according to the NCOC.

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