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COVID-19: Pakistan bans train travel for unvaccinated passengers

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Pakistan announced a ban on train travel starting in October for unvaccinated people as part of the country’s measures to counter vaccine hesitancy and nudge citizens into getting a jab.

Millions of people in Pakistan remain unwilling to receive a shot in the arm in spite of a surge in new infections and sufficient vaccine supplies.

The decision would come into effect from Oct. 1, a health ministry official said on Tuesday.

Railways were one of the major modes of transportation and nearly 40 million people travelled by train every year, according to a recent economic survey.

Domestic air travel for the unvaccinated has already been banned from this month.

The reasons for vaccine hesitancy are multi-faceted and involve social media, which is full of baseless conspiracy theories.

According to a Gallup Pakistan survey in January, 49 per cent of respondents said they will opt out of the jab, as they considered the coronavirus threat to be exaggerated.

But openness to getting vaccinated has improved and 66 per cent of people were now willing to receive a shot, according to a recent survey.

The government-run vaccination drive started in February and was initially slow, but the campaign has started picking up pace as nearly one million people were receiving the jabs every day.

The report said that more than 37 million people had been administered at least one dose.

The goal was to have 80 million people vaccinated by the end of this year.

Authorities have also asked public servants, teachers and students above 18 to get vaccinated by the end of August.

There were 3,884 new cases during the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. Pakistan had so far recorded 1,075,504 cases and 24,004 deaths.

(dpa/NAN)

 

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