Aaj News

Govt likely to shut NCOC soon amid Covid’s downward trajectory

Centre plans to replace NCOC with NIH-CDC; as many as 609 coronavirus cases reported in a single day
Published 13 Mar, 2022 12:30pm
Sultan, who appears alongside the NCOC head in media briefings, said the decision was taken after setting up an alternative to the nerve centre which would be run by health authorities. Photo via Twitter/@fslsltn/File
Sultan, who appears alongside the NCOC head in media briefings, said the decision was taken after setting up an alternative to the nerve centre which would be run by health authorities. Photo via Twitter/@fslsltn/File

The government has started making considerations for shutting down the National Command and Operation Centre, as the country’s coronavirus statistics show a consecutive decrease in the number of cases and achievement of the “vaccination milestone of inoculating 100 million people” with Covid vaccine dose.

The NCOC forum, which serves as the nucleus of the country’s unified efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, was formed on March 27, 2020, on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan with a senior federal minister – Asad Umar – in the lead. The forum, which also includes armed forces personnel, in coordination with health ministries and all federating units daily reviews the Covid situation and takes decisions in view of such data. The NCOC came under the National Coordination Committee, which is presided over by PM Imran.

Special Assistant to the PM on Health Faisal Sultan in separate interviews to Dawn and The News on Saturday revealed that the responsibility to deal with the coronavirus data would be given to the National Institute of Health, Centres for Disease Control – another forum which also reviews the Covid situation and was the first to report the emergence of the Covid’s Omicron variant in the federal capital

Sultan, who appears alongside the NCOC head in media briefings, said the decision was taken after setting up an alternative to the nerve centre which would be run by health authorities. He added the transition was underway and expressed hope the process would be completed by the end of this month. However, The News reported the government has fixed March 27 as the date when the NCOC would be closed, the same day when the forum was established to stem the Covid spread.

Asad Umar calls for ‘immediate vaccination’ to avert Omicron threat

“We have decided both NCOC and NIH-CDC would work simultaneously and then with the passage of time the responsibility will be given to NIH-CDC. Even in that case some of the officials of the NCOC will be shifted in the NIH-CDC,” he said.

According to health officials, PM Imran would formally announce the closure of the NCOC and inaugurate a Covid-19 monument in Shakarparian.

Moreover, the daily Covid statistics showed a further decline as per the NCOC data released on Sunday. “Statistics March 13 2022: total tests in last 24 hours: 35,627; positive cases: 609; positivity %: 1.70%; deaths: 3; and patients on critical care: 600,” it said.

The countrywide tally showed that as many as 571,854 cases were reported in Sindh, followed by Punjab (503,715), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (218,070), Islamabad (134,818), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (43,167), Balochistan (35,437), and Gilgit Baltistan (11,631). Furthermore, the overall active cases tally also stayed below the 20,000 mark.

Last month, billionaire-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates had visited Pakistan and appreciated the country’s efforts in the fight against the Covid-19. According to the NCOC head, who received a letter from Gates, said the Microsoft founder “was blown away” by the work Pakistan had made in its efforts to stem the virus spread.

Moreover, Umar on March 6 tweeted that as many as 100 million people have been “fully vaccinated” against the coronavirus in Pakistan and termed it a “major milestone” achieved by the country in its effort to get rid of the virus and return to normalcy.

According to National Command and Operation Centre head Asad Umar’s tweet on Sunday, more than 127 million have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccines. “We are very close to achieving vaccination of all eligible citizens,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention that the countrywide door-to-door vaccination campaign, which started on February 1, had also contributed to the latest milestone to some extent as the country witnessed an increase in the number of vaccinated people after the drive. It was the first phase of the “massive” two-week-long countrywide vaccination campaign to inoculate more than 35 million people.

NCOC

asad umar

coronavirus

imran khan

Omicron variant

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