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NCC may consider imposing more restrictions today

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan called a meeting of the Covid-19 National Coordination Committee on Friday (today) to review the pandemic situation and plan a future strategy, as more than 5,800 people tested positive for the virus contagious and 98 lost their lives. in the last 24 hours.

The decision to convene the NCC meeting was announced by the Prime Minister’s Office after Mr. Khan received a briefing on the Covid-19 situation from the Minister of Planning and Development Asad Umar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Health Dr. Faisal Sultan here on Thursday night.

In a conversation with Dawn after his meeting with the Prime Minister, SAPM Dr. Sultan said that during the NCC meeting they would discuss with the provinces the issue of not implementing the SOPs (standard operating procedures) necessary to prevent the spread of the disease.

Dr. Sultan said he would ask the provinces to ensure strict implementation of existing SOPs to avoid imposing further restrictions. Expressing concern about the current situation, SAPM regretted that people, even in a small city like Islamabad, were “taking it lightly, what to talk about in other big cities”.

Over 5,800 new Covid cases, 98 deaths reported; PM informed about the situation

SAPM said data on the disease would be shared with the provinces at the NCC meeting. He said the media was erroneously reporting on the prolonged blockade during Ramazan, saying that any such decision would only be made with the provincial consensus. He said that it is not possible to make decisions without consulting the provinces and the country’s leaders. SAPM said that whatever decision is taken, it will be taken by consensus.

Dr. Sultan said that while the burden on the country’s health system is steadily increasing, the situation in Pakistan is still better than in many counties around the world. He refuted claims that the government had failed to resolve the situation. He gave the example of neighboring India, where, according to him, the situation was worse than that of Pakistan.

According to a source, the NCC at its meeting will also discuss whether more countries should be included in the category C list for travel restrictions.

According to data released by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 5,857 new cases and 98 deaths were reported on Thursday, of which 28 died in ventilators. Overall, 559 fans were in use across the country; however, no patient was under ventilation in Gilgit-Baltistan and Baluchistan.

In addition, 100pc openings were occupied in Mardan, 88pc in Gujranwala, 85pc in Multan and 82pc in Lahore. About 85pc oxygenated beds were occupied in Gujranwala, 74pc in Peshawar and 67pc in Nowshera and Swabi.

The number of active cases rose to 84,935 on Thursday. A total of 778,238 cases have been detected so far, while 676,605 people have recovered. Up to 16,698 deaths have been reported since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in February last year. In addition, another 5,450 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country on Thursday.

The NCOC is also scheduled to meet on Friday (today), before its members attend the NCC meeting under the command of the prime minister. The meeting, the sources said, is set to consider imposing further restrictions across the country in the event of failure by authorities to implement SOPs.

The Minister of Planning and Development, Asad Umar, announced on Wednesday that the NCOC would impose further restrictions during its meeting on Friday, as the number of cases and the rate of positivity increased steadily. He said the decision to put more countries on the category C list was postponed because SAPM Dr. Faisal Sultan was unable to attend the meeting due to his visit to Peshawar together with Prime Minister Khan. The decision would be made on Friday.

“We have reached the limit and the situation can get out of control at any time. Cities under pressure include Lahore, Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Faisalabad, Multan and Rawalpindi. Islamabad is still included in the list of safe cities. Two months ago, Karachi’s positivity rate was just 2%, but on Wednesday it was 13% and 14% in Hyderabad. It may not be necessary to make an official announcement of city closings, as everything would automatically stop if the current trend persists, ”said Umar.

On April 19, the NCOC placed India in category C countries and banned two passengers from entering the country for two weeks to prevent the transport of the double-mutated Indian virus. The forum also announced that it would consider imposing similar restrictions on some other countries.

International travel to Pakistan from category C countries is restricted and only permitted in accordance with NCOC guidelines.

A special PAF plane carrying 500,000 doses of the SinoVac vaccine arrived at Nur Khan air base from China on Wednesday. The shipment was obtained by payment.

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