PESHAWAR: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has declared wearing of facemasks mandatory in public places owing to the fears of second wave of coronavirus in the country.

The NCOC met on Wednesday in Islamabad and directed the provinces to ensure compliance of wearing of facemasks and other standard operating procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19 particularly in markets, shopping malls, public transport and restaurants.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar chaired the meeting. The meeting decided that in the wake of second wave of coronavirus, it will be mandatory for the citizens to wear facemasks in government and private offices.

The meeting was informed that coronavirus positivity ratio has increased in 11 major cities of the country. An alarming figure was shared with the meeting that coronavirus positivity ratio is 80 percent in 11 major cities.

At present, 4,374 smart lockdowns have been imposed across the country. Major cities where smart lockdowns are in place include Quetta, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Mirpur, Karachi, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad.

According to latest official data, 825 more people tested positive for coronavirus out of 29,477 tests over the last 24 hours. Coronavirus claimed lives of 14 more people during the last 24 hours. As many as 311,814 people have recovered from the virus in Pakistan so far. Active cases are 11,627 in the country. The database shows that 611 virus patients are in critical condition.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 70 new cases were confirmed taking the total to 39,189. One new death was reported in last 24 hours keeping the total at 1,271. As many as 74 more patients recovered, taking the total tally to 37,380. Active coronavirus cases in KP are now 538.

On Tuesday, Special Assistant Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan at a news conference stated that with the beginning of the second COVID-19 wave, strict restrictions would need to be imposed again and a strategy for this purpose would be chalked out son.

Dr Faisal Sultan said the restrictions would be tightened in the cities where the positivity ratio of COVID-19 was high. He said the new recommendations would be presented soon in consultation with provinces.