ISLAMABAD: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar on Friday said based on the information provided to the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), the country could not afford an ‘indefinite lockdown’.
"We cannot afford an indefinite lockdown," he said while speaking at a news conference with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan here. "We will have to keep our essential services functioning as well," said Maj Gen Babar.
He thanked the media for reporting objectively on the coronavirus pandemic, saying he had no hesitation in admitting that the state will require cooperation from themedia to battle the virus, the local media reports. He paid tribute to the doctors, health workers and medical staff battling against the coronavirus.
"I pay special tribute to doctors, paramedics, and security personnel, on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 virus. I also thank the Ulema for their role," he said.
Maj Gen Babar briefed the media about the NCOC, saying it was headed by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar. He said the NCOC served as a nerve center "to collate and analyse information received from provinces, after which recommendations were made to the National Command Centre" so that the country's top political leadership could take timely decisions.
The ISPR director general said the NCOC was a 'one-window operation' where under one roof, important ministries and provinces had representation. "Here, all sorts of information is received and is forwarded," he said.
Maj Gen Babar said it was of the utmost importance that the masses cooperated with the state by staying inside their homes. "As a good Muslim, it is one of our most important responsibilities to keep others safe as well. You can do this by staying inside your houses," he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the information ministry and the ISPR will together brief the media on the latest coronavirus situation. She said the National Command and Operations Centre will be the hub and they will spare no effort to provide timely and accurate information to the media.
She said the media could become the right hand of the information ministry and the ISPR to defeat COVID-19. “Together, we will ensure that accurate information is provided to the people,” she added.