A special morning session of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) was held on March 13 to review the rising trend of COVID-19 positivity in Pakistan. Head of NCOC and Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar chaired the session.

The meeting noted that a sharp rise in national positivity is visible, and is hovering around 5-6%. Major contributors were identified as Punjab, Islamabad, and few cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). All Federating Units were asked to take immediate actions for strict implementation of COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

At the session, steps taken by the Punjab government for disease control were appreciated. However, further steps for disease control, including expanded lockdowns in various cities of Punjab, including Islamabad, and certain cities of KP were under consideration.

The spread of new virus strains in the country was also discussed. Further curbs on international travel from certain countries with a high prevalence of the South African and Brazilian virus strains were considered. The decision on this will be taken after consultation with all stake holders, the meeting was told.

It was decided that ‘SOPs implementation week’ will start across the country today onwards, with citizens requested to once again display a good example of social behavior and follow COVID related SOPs for the collective good of the country.

The meeting noted that the vaccination drive for the elderly population has been in process since March 10.

The NCOC urged that senior citizens get themselves vaccinated from their designated vaccination centers, and provinces must ensure the smooth continuation of the vaccination drive for healthcare workers and elderly citizens.

Anas Mallick is an international journalist who has been working as a field reporter for 7+ years now. With a focus on diplomacy, militancy, and conflict, Mallick's expertise involve Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. He tweets at @AnasMallick


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