ISLAMABAD: While expressing concern on the deteriorating situation of the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday hinted that “more drastic measures” could be taken to control the spread of the virus.
“More drastic measures could be taken if coronavirus situation deteriorates further. Provinces should complete administrative preparations,” said the NCOC in a statement after a special session in Islamabad.
The NCOC also directed the provinces to ensure that the medical supplies are fulfilled and review the situation in the hospitals.
It also urged the provinces to ensure that the standard operating procedures are followed.
Coronavirus positivity rate crosses 3%
The statement comes two days after federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar announced that Pakistan’s coronavirus positivity rate crossed 3% mark for the first time in more than 70 days.
Asad Umar, who also supervises COVID-19 strategy, said, “after more than 70 days the national COVID positivity ratio was higher than 3% yesterday”.
He said that the NCOC has tightened restrictions on some high-risk public activities but the rising spread of the disease can only be controlled if people believe in the need for precautions.
The federal authorities have issued multiple warnings in the past few days on the ignorance towards implementation of COVID-19 SOPs as the second wave hits the country.
On Wednesday, the NCOC issued fresh rules regarding the closure of wedding halls and shopping malls and made the wearing of face mask mandatory.
A day prior, the government had said that strict coronavirus restrictions are inevitable given the rise in COVID-19 deaths and the positivity ratio across Pakistan.
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health, Dr Faisal Sultan had said that a few weeks ago, 400-500 cases were being reported across the country on a daily basis. The tally, he said, had shot up to 700-750 cases per day.
“The coronavirus death rate has increased in the country,” he had said, adding that that the positivity ratio had surged to 2.5-2.75%.
Dr Faisal said that people were not adhering to coronavirus precautions as they should, given the pandemic was still far from over.