KARACHI: The federal government on Saturday warned the people that the country was clearly witnessing signs of a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic and asked them to follow the defined standard operating procedures and get themselves vaccinated to avert major restrictions and losses.

At a meeting chaired by President Dr Arif Alvi at Governor House, it was agreed that the implementation of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) guidelines was crucial in the current scenario.

A statement issued by the Governor House said that the federal government was working on a sustainable development agenda for Sindh. The strategy promotes the sustainable use of resources to achieve the objectives of poverty alleviation and social development through the participation of the people of Sindh.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar briefed the meeting on the ongoing development schemes and future projects for Sindh. He said that the purpose of the strategic planning and actions was to address the ecological, economic and social issues of the province.

President appreciates efforts for development of Karachi, other districts of Sindh

The federal minister also gave a detailed briefing on the Covid-19 situation with special reference to the fourth wave due to the Indian variant of the coronavirus. He said there were clear signs of a fourth wave of Covid-19 starting in the country, primarily due to poor compliance with the SOPs and arrival of the Delta variant.

He said the government would make all-out efforts to ensure compliance of the rules with focus on a two-pronged strategy: strict enforcement of guidelines, particularly in big cities and tourist places; and by appealing to the people to wear masks, avoid crowds, and get vaccinated.

The president appreciated efforts of the federal government for the development schemes for Karachi and other districts of Sindh. However, he expressed his grave concern over the non-compliance of SOPs to check spread of the coronavirus by the people at large.

“I have myself witnessed during Eid prayers at Faisal Masjid that people were not following the NCOC’s recommendations and the related SOPs were being ignored. Nevertheless, in the wake of a fourth wave of Covid-19, the observance of SOPs has become all the more important to minimise its impact through implementation of stringent measures,” he added.

The president stressed that the people should get themselves vaccinated as early as possible. He also advised the people to follow instructions of the NCOC in letter and spirit to help check spread of the disease.

Dr Arif Alvi also directed the Sindh governor to convene a meeting with ulema and religious scholars before Muharram to ensure the enforcement of the SOPs during congregations and other religious events.

“We cannot ask people to abandon their faith during these testing times, but we must play our role to ensure the community can learn how to protect people from Covid-19 during the annual majalis”, he added.

Besides Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, the meeting was attended by MNA Jay Parkash, MPAs Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Saeed Afridi, Khurram Sher Zaman, Bilal Ghaffar and Haleem Adil Shaikh.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2021

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