ISLAMABAD: In a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 amid the fifth wave of the pandemic in the country, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has summoned a meeting of the provincial education and health ministers meeting on January 17.
The meeting of the provincial education and health ministers will suggest a new set of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) focusing on the education sector, public gatherings, marriage ceremonies, indoor/outdoor dining and transport sector, according to a statement issued today.
The decision was made during a meeting of the NCOC in Islamabad. The forum discussed the epidemic curve chart data, disease prevalence and proposed NPIs in wake of rising disease trends in the country, especially in the urban centres.
The NCOC decided to extensively engage with provinces, especially with the Sindh government for necessary measures to tackle the rising disease.
The meeting also decided to implement a complete ban on in-flight serving of meals/snacks from January 17.
The Civil Aviation Authority was asked to ensure in-flight mask-wearing and also implement SOPs at all the airports. Serving of meals and snacks in public transport will also be banned with effect from January 17.
The forum asked federating units to take strict measures against violators of SOPs especially mask-wearing and to ensure enforcement of obligatory vaccination regime.
NCOC directed all the quarters to accelerate the ongoing vaccination drive and ramp up efforts to achieve vaccination targets.
Pakistan reported the highest number of cases — 4,286 — since August 25, 2021, in the last 24 hours, the National Command and Operation Centre's (NCOC) data showed Saturday morning, as compared to 3,567 a day earlier.
The positivity ratio also shot up to 8.16%, the highest since August 11, when 52,522 tests were conducted across the country, according to the NCOC data.
The overall cases have reached 1.32 million after the detection of new infections, while the death toll now stands at 29,003 as four deaths were reported from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The Sindh government has decided that schools will not be closed and the educational activities will continue in the province despite an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the Provincial Task Force chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House.
The chief minister had convened a meeting of the task force over the rising coronavirus cases across the province, especially Karachi, as the positivity ratio in the port city reached 35.30% in the last 24 hours.
According to reports, members of the COVID-19 body, the Sindh Health Department, and health experts attended the meeting to review the ongoing situation in the city.
During the meeting, the chief minister stated that officials who do not wear masks will face a fine. It was proposed to deduct one day's wage from the pay of any government employee who does not wear a mask on the workplace.
Additionally, the meeting determined to intensify immunisation campaigns throughout the province and to carefully adhere to SOPs.
Furthermore, the CM stated that with the public's cooperation, the ongoing coronavirus wave will be brought under control.
The task force will reconvene in a few days, and further decisions will be taken after a review, he added.
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