Pakistan gears up for Ramadan amid COVID concerns

While people would typically be stocking up on provisions and preparing to entertain family and friends for the breaking of the dawn-to-sunset fast, this year, markets appear empty, and some shopkeepers say they are fighting a losing battle.

The predominantly Muslim country reported 5,329 new infections and 98 deaths on Thursday (April 8), according to the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC).

The NCOC has issued guidelines to curb the spread of the virus during Ramadan, including the wearing of face masks and social distancing in mosques.

It also says children, people with flu symptoms and those over 50 should not go to mosques at all.

Meanwhile, the annual rate of inflation rose to 9.05 per cent in March, up from 8.7 per cent the previous month, according to the country's statistics bureau.