President Dr Arif Alvi receives a booster dose of vaccine at F-9 vaccination centre on Wednesday.—PPI
President Dr Arif Alvi receives a booster dose of vaccine at F-9 vaccination centre on Wednesday.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: As the country reported more than 200 cases of Covid-19 after a gap of two and a half months, the federal and provincial leadership gathered at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday to deliberate on the continuously changing situation.

It was decided to expedite the vaccination of citizens, as it was the best defence against the pandemic. Besides, the number of daily Covid tests, which has dropped fivefold over the last couple of months, will be increased to ascertain the actual number of infections across the country.

The NCOC meeting was chaired by Federal Minister of National Health Services (NHS) Abdul Qadir Patel in Islamabad. Representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the National Disaster Management Authority, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and the local administration also attended. Provincial representatives also participated virtually.

National Coordinator Maj Gen Aamer Ikram gave an overview of the current situation of Covid-19 and its vaccination status.

Federal, provincial leadership review situation

It was informed that 85 per cent of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated and 93pc has been partially vaccinated. Besides, 100pc eligible population in Sindh has been fully vaccinated.

The minister advised all provinces and regions to administer booster doses on a priority basis to further improve protection against Covid transmission.

He said that keeping in view the current pandemic situation, the national positivity was below 2pc, which was credited to the healthcare system and stakeholders. Still, there was a need to remain alert and vigilant about the situation, he said.

“In view of the global pandemic situation, the Central Health Establishment (CHE) should strictly monitor the health status of incoming passengers at points of entries. The CHE will be strengthened to enhance the functionality,” he said.

The CHE monitors health-related developments within and outside the country and issues advisories and takes steps to stop spread of diseases.

The meeting decided that non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) and other measures would be taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The minister emphasised the importance of precautions, such as social distancing and mask-wearing, especially in crowded places. He also highlighted the need to strictly follow the guidelines for managing markets for Eidul Azha.

Data released by the NCOC shows that 204 new infections were reported. While Karachi reported 15.44pc positivity, cities which reported over 2pc positivity included Muzaffarabad, Quetta, Islamabad, Mardan, Nowshera and Lahore.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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