Pakistan recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases after nearly five months and its positivity rate jumped to 8.16 percent on Saturday. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) urged the provinces to review the situation and decide about placing restrictions on public gatherings, weddings, schools, restaurants, and public transport.
The NCOC in its meeting decided to recommend a ban on in-flight meals and serving of snacks on public transport with effect from Monday. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was asked to ensure the wearing of facemasks and compliance with other standard operating procedures (SOPs) during flights as well as at all airports.
In the wake of the fifth wave of covid in the country, the NCOC discussed the current situation, disease prevalence, and proposed Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPI). The forum decided to extensively engage with the provinces, especially with the Sindh government, for necessary measures to curb the rising trend, it stated.
The country recorded as many as 4,286 new cases in the past day and four more deaths. Meanwhile, 709 patients were in critical care. The latest figure is close to the one reported on August 25 when the NCOC recorded 4,563 new cases.
In Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah chaired a meeting of the provincial task force on coronavirus. They decided to continue to allow educational, social, and business activities. However, with strict implementation of covid-related SOPs.
Government mulls over curbs
It was decided that government officials found without facemasks would be fined equal to the amount of their one-day remuneration. Additionally, wearing facemasks would be made mandatory at public places and private offices.
The chief minister also directed the administration to ensure that vaccination certificates were checked and unvaccinated individuals were barred from entering restaurants, markets, and marriage halls.
Health officials informed the chief minister that there was no pressure on hospitals at present. More so, covid-19 patients were recovering fast and the mortality rate was as low as 1.6pc.
To evaluate and suggest a new set of NPIs focusing on the education sector, public gatherings, marriage ceremonies, indoor/outdoor dining, and transport sector, the NCOC decided to call a meeting of provincial health and education ministers on Monday.
The NCOC asked the federating units to take strict measures against violators of existing SOPs specially facemask wearing and to ensure enforcement of obligatory vaccination regime.
It also directed all relevant quarters to fast-track vaccination drive and ramp up efforts to achieve vaccination targets. Pakistan would, however, not experience another lockdown. Fawad Chaudhry rebuked reports of schools closure as well.
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