Federal Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar took a dig at Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Monday for ignoring the risk of the spread of Covid-19 with the holding of a Pakistan Democratic Movement public meeting in Swat the previous day.
In a tweet, the minister recalled that the PML-N leader had "lectured about amazing things he would have done to stop Covid if he was in power" while addressing a National Assembly session.
The "least he [Shehbaz] can do is not do jalsas (rallies) with thousands of people as he did in Swat yesterday", Umar added.
"Or is he only willing to do something positive for Pakistan if he is in power?" the minister questioned.
The public gathering was the first rally of the PDM in several months as attempts were reportedly under way by the PML-N and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl to revive the alliance and unite all opposition forces, especially after the PPP quit it in the mid of April.
Addressing the rally, Shehbaz blasted the government for its policies and “taking the country to the brink of destruction”.
He remarked the 'Naya Pakistan' (new Pakistan) of PTI government's era was in fact far behind the 'purana (old) Pakistan'.
Warning of fourth wave
Last month, Umar, who also heads the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which is the nerve centre for the country's response to the pandemic, had warned that Pakistan might face a fourth Covid-19 wave in July if standard operating procedures (SOPs) were not adhered to.
"Reviewed the artificial intelligence based disease modeling analysis today in NCOC. In the absence of strong SOP enforcement and continued strong vaccination program, the 4th wave could emerge in Pakistan in July. Please adhere to sop’s and vaccinate as soon as possible," Umar had said.
Earlier in the month, the NCOC had relaxed the restriction on the two-day weekly closure of businesses. It was also decided to allow indoor gyms to remain partially open for vaccinated members and allow selected non-contact sports.
The 50 per cent work-from-home policy was withdrawn and 100pc office attendance was allowed. Similarly, two-day weekly ban on inter-provincial transport was also lifted and 70pc occupancy in public transport was allowed, instead of 50pc.
On June 27, amid overall improvement of Covid-19 situation in various parts of the world and the country, it was decided to gradually normalise inbound international air travel. Home quarantine requirement for negative rapid antigen test cases was abolished and those who tested positive at airports were allowed to undergo quarantine at their homes instead of government facilities.
According to the government Covid-19 portal, the number of daily cases began dropping from four digits to three digits on June 25. It remained at around 900 till June 27 and further fell to 735 on June 28.
However, the number of cases gradually started increasing and doubled in just one week.
Today (Monday), over 1,000 news cases have been reported in the country for the fifth straight day.
As many as 1,347 coronavirus cases have been detected against 45,245 tests conducted in the country over the past 24 hours. This constitutes a positivity rate of 2.97 per cent.
The country's total caseload now adds up to 963,660.
With 19 more coronavirus-related fatalities reported over the past 24 hours, the country's death toll has climbed to 22,427.