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Shutting cities not solution to new wave says NCOC head Umar

اپ ڈیٹ 29 جولائ 2021
Pakistan's covid positivity rate stands at 7.5%. Screen grab from TV
Pakistan's covid positivity rate stands at 7.5%. Screen grab from TV

In a press briefing on Thursday head of the NCOC Asad Umar said that shutting down cities would not help curb the spread of coronavirus.

Seated with the SAPM on health Dr Faisal Sultan, Umar said Pakistan learned that shutting down a nation was not the way to fight the pandemic, adding that they did not want the working class to pay the price for this.

He said this at a time when the NCOC reported 4,497 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the highest since May. The country also recorded 78 deaths in the same period.

The Sindh government is considering imposing a lockdown in the province where cases are alarmingly high.

"Closing down entire cities for weeks is not the solution," Umar said, adding that their experience, backed with data, showed that following SOPs and enforcing smart lockdowns in hotspots proved successful.

But he acknowledged the situation was not good now, especially in Karachi and if people did not follow the government-mandated safety protocols, it would get worse.

According to the NCOC data, he said, people are not following SOPs like they did in the past.

“Islamabad has the highest enforcement of health guidelines of around 56.4%. Next is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 46%, Punjab is 38%, while the lowest [enforcement] is in Sindh and Balochistan at 33%,” he said.

The federal minister also set a deadline of August 31 for law enforcement personnel, government employees and students as well as other people working in sectors which dealt with the public to get themselves vaccinated. This includes people employed in hotels, restaurants, wedding halls, shopping malls and banks.

He said they wanted to set a target of one million vaccinations a day but they needed the public's help with that.

Dr Sultan addressed the current situation in the country and said critical care cases of coronavirus had jumped to 3,000 from the previous month's 2,000. He said this had increased the burden on the health sector and hospitals.

Earlier in the day Umar tweeted the vaccine statistics

But some responded aggressively to Umar's tweet asking why Pakistan hasn't considered a lockdown?