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Pakistan’s new travel guidelines amid spike in COVID-19 cases

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  • CAA also issues new travel advisory for all domestic flights. 
  • NIH directs all authorities concerned to ensure use of masks.
  • Development comes after country reported a surge in new infections.

ISLAMABAD: Amid a constant rise in COVID-19 cases in Pakistan, the National Institute of Health (NIH) Monday issued a new travel advisory directing all authorities concerned to ensure the use of masks on domestic flights, public transport, including trains.

“All citizens should wear masks while travelling in order to prevent themselves from being affected by the infection,” the directions stated.

Earlier, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had also issued a new travel advisory directing all authorities concerned to ensure the use of masks on domestic flights.

The aviation authority issued the advisory following a surge in the cases and experts’ warning that increased travel is one of the reasons behind the spike in positivity.

The COVID-19 positivity ratio in Pakistan is nearing 3%. As many as 382 new cases were reported during the last 24 hours, National Institute of Health, Islamabad (NIH) data showed Monday morning.

According to a CAA notification, the concerned authorities have been ordered to ensure compliance with the new directives while the other COVID-19 guidelines on domestic air travel remained unchanged.

The air regulator had lifted restrictions after the country overcame the fifth wave of coronavirus, however, after the recent surge, the authorities are mulling reimposing certain SOPs.

Experts warn new infections may turn into sixth wave

Experts warned Pakistan may potentially witness another COVID-19 outbreak as the country continues to see an uptick in new cases, pushing the positivity rate further up.

In view of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, the health experts have also warned that the surge in new infections may turn into the sixth wave of the pandemic.

The latest data showed that Karachi is the most affected city, reporting a high positivity ratio during the last few days.

The metropolis recorded 22.65% positivity in the last 24 hours while the nationwide ratio was 2.85%, the NIH figures showed.

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Senate Session: Senate Proceeds With Debate On Important National Issues

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Today, the Senate reconvened in the Parliament House in Islamabad, with Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani presiding.

The House has persisted in debating matters of national significance.

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TTP and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar battle in Loralai, raising tensions

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The conflict between Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has intensified, with a violent altercation taking place on the evenings of February 15 and 16.

A top Jamaat-ul-Ahrar commander known as Qari Ismail or Ziaur Rahman was critically injured in this battle during a lethal attack in the Lala Pul neighborhood of District Loralai.

The confrontation between rival factions Target Killing and Dharo is part of an ongoing battle, other Jamaat-ul-Ahrar members have verified. Originating from the Khyber area of KP, Qari Ismail has been a well-known leader for the last ten years.

These commanders have killed civilians and law enforcement personnel in terrorist assaults in Punjab and Peshawar. Following the killing of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar leader Omar Khalid Khorasani in August 2022, tensions between the group and the TTP arose.

Notably, disputes have also emerged as a result of the TTP’s central committee, headed by Mohsin Wazir and backed by Muhassud Wali, removing two commanders connected to Jamaat-ul-Ahrar from ministerial positions. Tensions in the Khyber area have escalated to the brink of war as both terrorist organizations compete for dominance.

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Perhaps another significant increase in power prices

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The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) has appealed to NEPRA to raise the price of energy by Rs7.13 per unit starting next month.

The rise will cost customers who are already suffering from inflation an extra Rs66.77 billion if NEPRA approves the demand.

According to the CPPA’s appeal, electricity distribution firms received 7.93 billion units in January 2024.

On February 23, Nepra will consider the petition. Customers who are on Lifeline KE will not be able to use the updated pricing.

In light of the monthly fuel adjustment (MFA), it is relevant to note that on January 31, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) raised the power rate by Rs5.63 per unit.

Following the conclusion of the NEPRA hearing on the Central Power Purchasing Agency’s (CPPA) appeal for a fuel monthly adjustment that will increase the power rate by Rs5.63 per unit for December 2023, the verdict was made public.

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