NCOC lifts Covid restrictions across country: Asad

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ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has lifted all Covid-19 related restrictions imposed across the country. Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, announced this during a press conference on Wednesday. “The vaccination mandate will remain in place, because the coronavirus is not over yet,” he said, adding that lifting the ban may increase the number of cases but the government could take required action again. The NCOC chief said that the populace had largely complied with NCOC guidelines, therefore, all restrictions imposed on wedding ceremonies, markets, bazaars, outdoor events, sports activities, religious gatherings will be lifted. He elaborated that the disease spread and daily Covid-19 cases have witnessed a steady decrease hence, it was suitable to move towards normalcy. Umar mentioned that there is a decrease in cases and that the number of patients in critical care has been the lowest since October 2020. “87% of the eligible population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine while 70% has been completely vaccinated,” he said, adding that vaccinations were behind the reduction in the spread of the virus.
He maintained that the country needed to transition towards normal life because the pandemic will seemingly continue and become a part of daily life. The NCOC chairperson urged unvaccinated people to receive both jabs against the virus so that they could “avoid all restrictions”.
Meanwhile, the NCOC, in its daily tally, stated that Pakistan observed 493 fresh cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the positivity ratio to 1.42 percent. It further maintained that four people had passed away due to the virus and that 567 people were currently under critical care.
Separately, US Embassy Chargé d’affaires Angela P Aggeler visited the NCOC on Wednesday to recognise Pakistan’s strong achievements in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a meeting with Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, Aggeler praised the NCOC’s success and highlighted the importance of US-Pakistani partnership in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
She emphasised, “Our strong collaboration extends across many sectors, including health. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Pakistan’s birth as a nation, and the 75th anniversary of our bilateral relationship. Our visit here today is a testament to the strong partnership that the United States and Pakistan have enjoyed since we recognised this country’s independence on August 15, 1947. And this country’s health sector embodies the benefits of that partnership.”
Over the past two years, the NCOC has successfully coordinated the Pakistani government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pakistan has administered over 219 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, fully vaccinated over 100 million people, and lowered the nationwide positivity rate to less than 1.5 percent – all laudable achievements.
In partnership with Pakistan, the United States has donated nearly 57 million Covid-19 vaccines, furnished almost $70 million in direct Covid-19 assistance, and provided over $9 million of in-kind support to Pakistan, including 200 ventilators, more than 1.2 million N95 masks, one million rapid diagnostic tests, and 1200 pulse oximeters.