Pakistan makes coronavirus vaccine mandatory for workers

Islamabad, June 9, (dpa/GNA) - Pakistan on Wednesday made the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for all public and private sector employees, in a step towards vaccinating 70 million people by the end of this year.

The decision was taken by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the body responsible for the country’s response to the pandemic.

"All public sector employees will have to be vaccinated by June 30," a statement said, without naming a deadline for the private sector.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan crossed the milestone of administering 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses, said Asad Umar, a senior minister and NCOC head.

"The more we vaccinate, the better we will be protected," Umar said at a ceremony in Islamabad.

Pakistan, a country with 220 million inhabitants, launched its vaccination campaign in February and initially faced hesitancy and supply shortages, but it has since launched a mass vaccination campaign last month.

Around 300,000 people are registering every day for vaccination, Umar said.

Meanwhile, a downward trend in new infections encouraged authorities to lift further restrictions, allowing offices to have full attendance and lifting a two-day weekly ban on public transport between provinces.

Over the last 24 hours, Pakistan recorded 1,118 new coronavirus cases, at a positivity rate of 2.54 per cent.

The country has registered a total 936,131 cases and 21,453 related deaths.