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Coronavirus: Pakistan bans public rallies after rise in Covid-19 infections

Reuters/Karachi, Pakistan
Filed on November 16, 2020
Female supporters of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of political opposition parties, react to party songs during an anti-government protest rally in Karachi, Pakistan October 18, 2020.

(Reuters)

Several huge religious and anti-government public rallies have been held in major cities in recent weeks.

Pakistan on Monday banned public political rallies after recording its highest daily coronavirus infections since July for four days running.

Several huge religious and anti-government public rallies have been held in major cities in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the ban, fearing hospitals will be overwhelmed as they were in June if people do not act responsibly.

"We have decided to ban public gatherings in the country, including ours planned over the weekend, as large crowds help in the spread of the virus," Khan said on national television.

There were 2,128 new cases registered on Sunday, the fourth day that the daily increase has been above 2,000.

More than 7 per cent of people tested on Sunday were found to have contracted the virus, compared with between 2 per cent and 3 per cent during most of the last four months.

After a peak of over 6,800 daily infections in June, the number fell to a low of 213 in August, and remained below 700 for most of the last three months.

"No one followed safety precautions and we are seeing the results," Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center in Karachi, told Reuters. "It is high time people realise, or we will continue to suffer,"

The country has registered a total 359,032 coronavirus cases and 7,160 deaths.





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