The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) is considering the enforcement of a lockdown in cities with high positivity rates, according to a statement released on Saturday.

The statement follows an NCOC session held earlier today, with Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in the chair. According to the NCOC statement, in light of increasing coronavirus cases, the forum “deliberated upon proposed lockdowns in high disease prevalence cities”.

The statement made no mention of what positivity ratio the forum considers high enough to warrant a lockdown. The NCOC clarified that talks would be held with stakeholders before a lockdown is imposed.

The restrictions, if enforced, would include the closure of markets, malls, less essential services, a ban on intercity public transport, and a complete closure of educational institutions.

Pakistan has reported 157 deaths due to COVID-19 making it the country’s highest death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began last year in Feb. Pakistan had recorded 153 deaths in June.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s national positivity ratio shot up to 11.27 per cent as it recorded 5,908 cases in the past 24 hours, said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in its daily statement.

The situation has been steadily deteriorating for the last few weeks in the country, today three of the biggest government hospitals in Peshawar witnessed a rise in coronavirus patients during the third coronavirus wave, forcing the medical institutions to ramp up their supply of oxygen.

As of Friday, 700 patients were receiving oxygen at the three major hospitals — Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital, and Hayatabad Medical Complex.

Earlier oxygen producers have warned that Pakistan may face a shortage of life-supporting gas as the demand has grown due to the deadly third wave of COVID-19 in the country.

In a joint statement, they said that they have been producing oxygen at their maximum capacity and if coronavirus cases continue to rise, the country could face its shortage as being witnessed by India. The oxygen producers said that most of the domestic production remains allocated to the health sector and that if all plants produce oxygen at full capacity, they can hardly meet the needs of the health sector.

They also demanded an uninterrupted supply of electricity to run their plants without any interruption.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar had said that the country had already utilising 90 percent of its total gas production and could face a shortage if the situation was not controlled.

Earlier, Islamabad’s biggest public sector hospital, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) reached its maximum capacity to handle coronavirus patients. In the wake of the growing number of patients, the hospital administration asked the authorities concerned to make alternate arrangements on the premises at the earliest.


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