KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – 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% of people tested on Sunday were found to have contracted the virus, compared with between 2% and 3% 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.
(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Gibran Peshimam and Nick Macfie)