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ISLAMABAD:

National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) chief Asad Umar said on Friday that the federal government is set to import 6,000 tons of oxygen, 5,000 cylinders and 20 cryogenic tanks in a bid to build Pakistan's capacity as a third Covid-19 wave rages on in the country.

This was decided during the NCOC meeting the previous day, Umar wrote on his official Twitter account.

According to the NCOC chief, it was this kind of "proactive decision making" that helped Pakistan "avoid the kind of scenes being witnessed in some other countries".

Umar further revealed that the total number of critical care Covid patients on oxygen reached 5,360 on Thursday – 57% more than June last year, when the country last witnessed a peak in cases.

Earlier on Thursday, the NCOC chief said that vaccinations of people aged between 40 to 49 years will start from May 3.

He also stated that the country recorded over 100,000 vaccinations for a second successive day, adding that it was encouraging to see the pace of vaccine registration also picking up.

Restrictions

In order to tackle the third wave of the pandemic hitting Pakistan with full force, the federal government announced a new set of restrictions, including a blanket ban on tourism and inter-provincial transport, in an attempt to contain a further rise in the mounting coronavirus cases during the upcoming Eidul Fitr holidays.

According to the Ministry of Interior, fresh restrictions also included the closure of all tourist resorts, hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, parks, beaches and other public places from May 8 to 16.

There will be a complete ban on inter-provincial and inter-city transport during Eid holidays, except for the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan, who will be allowed to travel to their hometowns.

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