KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan’s aviation regulator has made masks mandatory on domestic flights given a gradual increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, a statement said.
The order comes a day after Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, reported that its positivity ratio for COVID-19, or the positive case rate of all tests performed, increased to 21% compared with a national rate of 2.8%.
“With immediate effect, the use of a mask will be mandatory on board domestic flights,” the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) said in a statement on Sunday afternoon.
Pakistan has had very few cases of COVID in recent months and had eliminated almost all precautions.
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But over the past 24 hours, COVID’s national positivity ratio had risen to 2.85% with 382 positive cases and two deaths, according to data released Monday by the Islamabad National Institutes of Health (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 completely vaccinated against COVID.
Pakistan disbanded the National Command and Operations Center, which oversaw the response to COVID, on March 31, as infections fell to the lowest level since the outbreak began in 2020.
(Report by Syed Raza Hassan; Edited by Robert Birsel)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.