NCOC warns of curbs amid violations of COVID SOPs

-Dr Faisal says COVID cases saw ‘definitive’ uptick in last 7 days
-Vaccination centers increased in provinces where the Moderna jabs will be administered
-Afghan students to undergo mandatory 10-day quarantine on arrival

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Monday warned of strict restrictions as it observed violation of coronavirus SOPs in several sectors following the relaxation of curbs.
The NCOC’s warning came during a meeting, with Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar in the chair, a statement from the forum said.
The forum expressed serious concerns over the violation of SOPs at restaurants, in-door gymnasiums, marriage halls, transportation, markets, tourist spots, among other sectors.
Meeting of chief secretaries: The NCOC has decided to call a meeting of chief secretaries from all the provinces to review the violations, come up with a strict mechanism to enforce SOPS, and ramp up the vaccination drive in the country.
The NCOC, in consultation with all federating units, has increased the number of vaccination centres in the provinces where Moderna vaccines will be administered. A total of 59 centres have been increased, with 15 in Punjab, 10 in Sindh, 14 in Khyber Pakhtunkwa, four in Balochistan, five in Islamabad in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and six in Gilgit-Baltistan.
A coronavirus vaccination verification portal has been established in a bid to facilitate people who want to enter the places where COVID-19 inoculation is necessary.
Arrival of Afghan students: “All vaccinating staff and the public are urged to ensure that their vaccination record is entered into the National Immunization Management System (NIMS) when vaccinating,” the statement said.
As many as 3,000 Afghan students, studying in different educational institutions of Pakistan, will arrive in the country. “Effective COVID-19 testing has been arranged on the arrival of students.” Students who test positive will be sent back, while the remaining students will be kept in mandatory quarantine for 10 days. Following the end of their quarantine period, students will be vaccinated.
COVID-19 cases saw ‘definitive’ uptick in last 7 days: The development comes shortly after Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had said that there has been a small but noticeable increase in coronavirus cases in the country.
Taking to Twitter, the SAPM said that since last week, there has been a “definitive uptick in cases, percentage positivity, and other parameters.”
Dr Faisal appealed to the masses to continue following the government’s mandated coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs), including wearing masks, avoiding crowds and getting vaccinated, all of which can help prevent the spike in cases. It is pertinent to mention that on Monday, Pakistan has recorded the highest positivity ratio, i.e 3.01% since June 16.
Moreover, on Monday, Pakistan reported 1,347 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, marking the fifth consecutive day of 1,000+ daily new cases. Another 19 people lost their lives to COVID-19 over this 24-hour period, as per data from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) issued Monday morning.
The total number of active cases in the country has crossed the 33,000 cases mark and currently stands at 33,299, while the country’s total recoveries have increased to 907,934.
A total of 963,660 cases have been detected so far in the country since the pandemic broke out in the country last year and 22,427 people have died from the virus since then.
According to a province-wise breakdown, the total cases reported in Sindh so far are 340,902, in Punjab 346,852, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 138,533, in Islamabad Capital Territory 82,969, in Balochistan 27,419, in Gilgit-Baltistan 6,427 and in Azad Jammu and Kashmir 20,558.