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Pakistan Imposes New COVID-19 Restrictions Amid Omicron Infection Surge

A worker sprays disinfectant at an outdoor market to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Karachi on January 20.

On January 21, Pakistani authorities reported 7,678 COVID-19 cases in a single day, its highest daily number of infections since the pandemic began, as the South Asian nation imposed new restrictions to curb the spread of omicron.

According to data from the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which oversees the country's pandemic response, 23 deaths were also reported in the last 24 hours.

The NCOC announced that because of the "rising trend of disease" nationwide it is imposing a ban on indoor dining in cities and districts with a positivity rate of higher than 10 percent.

The positivity rate indicates the prevalence of positive cases of the disease compared to the number of tests administered.

Faisal Mahmood, associate professor of infectious diseases at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, said the number of hospitalizations was rising, citing the ongoing wedding season as a reason for the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

The government authorized booster vaccine shots for citizens older than 30 in Pakistan, where nearly one-third of the population has had two vaccine doses.

Vaccination of children over the age of 12 is mandatory to attend schools, and children under 12 are allowed to attend schools with 50 percent attendance.