Pakistan orders masks on domestic flights as COVID-19 numbers rise

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Pakistan’s aviation regulator has made masks mandatory on domestic flights given a gradual rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, it said a statement.

The order comes a day after Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi, reported that its COVID-19 positivity ratio, or the rate of positive cases out of all tests conducted, rose to 21% compared with a national rate of 2.8%.

“With immediate effect, mask wearing will be mandatory onboard domestic flights,” the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) said in the statement late on Sunday.

Pakistan has had very few COVID-19 cases over recent months and had done away with almost all precautions.

But over the past 24 hours, the national COVID-19 positivity ratio had risen to 2.85% with 382 positive cases and two deaths, according to data released on Monday by the National Institute of Health, Islamabad (NIH).

A month ago, the positivity ratio was 0.54% with 79 positive cases and no deaths. According to the NIH, 85% of eligible Pakistanis have been fully vaccinated against COVID.

Pakistan disbanded the National Command and Operations Center, which was overseeing the COVID-19 response, on March 31 as infections fell to the lowest since the outbreak began in 2020.

Reuters

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