Thursday September 23, 2021

Most of corona cutbacks relaxed

June 10, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday announced relaxations in non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI), enforced to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic along with countrywide mass vaccination campaign.

The NCOC session chaired by Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and co-chaired by National Coordinator Lieutenant General Hamooduz Zaman Khan took a comprehensive review of vaccination process and implementation of corona standard operating procedures (SOPs) and NPIs.

The forum decided to start national mass vaccination campaign under a three-pronged strategy to enhance the country’s resolve against the deadliest disease. The campaign would be based on voluntarily vaccination by all citizens, whereas the awareness campaign for public and private sectors employees will also be started.

The forum made it mandatory for all public sector employees to be vaccinated by June 30. The NCOC is also considering introducing certain incentives for various sectors to encourage vaccination. The forum also decided that the vaccination centres would remain open on Friday instead of Sunday, whereas all vaccination centres will remain open from 8:00am to 10:00pm daily from 11 June except Sunday.

The forum also announced walk-in vaccination facility for individuals of above 18-year age from tomorrow (Friday) onwards in vaccination centres. The NCOC was in the process of developing IT-based solutions for verification of vaccination certificates which would be completed by the end of June. The NCOC decided that the decisions pertaining to NPIs relaxation would be implemented from June 15 onwards.

The forum decided that the restriction about closure of business activities two days a week would be relaxed to one day where the choice of day would be at the discretion of the federating units. The NCOC also allowed partial opening of indoor gyms for vaccinated members only, whereas only selective non-contact sports would be permitted, while ban on contact sports (Karate, boxing, MMA, Rugby, kabaddi, wrestling, waterpolo) and festivals, cultural and other events would remain imposed. It was decided that the ban on closure of shrines and cinemas would remain in place.

The NCOC also decided to revive full strength of workforce at all departments from the prevailing 50 percent work from home policy. Moreover, the two days weekly ban on inter-provincial transport would also be lifted from June 15 onwards. Restriction regarding 50 percent occupancy for public transport would be relaxed to 70 percent occupancy. The forum underscored that the current restrictions already announced by the NCOC regarding recreation, education sector, mask wearing, railways and inbound passengers policy would remain in place till further orders.

Meanwhile, Asad Umar said at a press conference that 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Pakistan so far. Asad Umar said the government’s decisions to curb the virus were proving “effective” during the third wave of the pandemic.

“The more quickly we get ourselves vaccinated, the faster we will be able to rid ourselves of this menace,” he said, requesting people to get themselves vaccinated so that business could reopen and life could return to its normal state in Pakistan.

The NCOC chief said the government as well as the masses had done a commendable job in following coronavirus SOPs, resulting in the number of cases dropping. “We have seen that when Pakistanis, as a nation, decide to do something, then they do it,” he said.

The minister said that while it was an impressive achievement, the government wanted to expedite the campaign and vaccinate 70 million people by the end of the year. The NCOC chief said Pakistan was vaccinating an estimated 300,000 people on a daily basis against the coronavirus. Earlier, the minister had taken to Twitter to announce that Pakistan will cross the 10,000,000 doses mark Wednesday.