ISLAMABAD: Warning that Pakistan is fast approaching a point where there will be “no choice” left but to impose another lockdown, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday said that there is an urgent and immediate need to ensure the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for coronavirus prevention.
The regulatory body noted that there has been a clear resurgence in virus cases and deaths.
“NCOC is closely monitoring the situation. If there is no improvement in SOPs compliance observed, NCOC will have no choice but to revert to strict measures leading to re-closures of services,” read a statement issued by the body Wednesday afternoon.
The statement said the NCOC, during a special session held to monitor the increasing, had noted a “clear resurgence in coronavirus” and noted the rising death rate attributable to COVID-19.
The chief secretaries, who attended the meeting, were directed to “strictly implement” SOPs.
They were also directed to take “strict punitive actions” if a violation of the SOPs is observed.
It also directed officials to put a “special focus” on the perceived high-risk sectors of transport, markets, marriage halls, restaurants, and public gatherings.
“Wearing the mask and social distancing must be ensured. Administrative actions be initiated against violators,” the NCOC told the chief secretaries.
140% increase in coronavirus mortality rate
The statement by the NCOC comes a day after Minister for Planning Asad Umar said that the COVID-19 mortality rate in Pakistan has increased by 140% in the last week and warned the public against ignoring the safety protocols.
Asad Umar, who also spearheads the government’s COVID-19 response, said, “We are collectively committing a blunder by recklessly ignoring all SOPs and the results have started to show”.
The warning from the federal minister came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan sounded alarm bells saying he feared a “second coronavirus spike” in cities such as Faisalabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, and Gujranwala, as the winter season approaches.
Asad Umar took to Twitter to highlight the deteriorating situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and said if we do not change our current path we will lose both lives and livelihoods.
“Last week daily COVID-19 mortality was 12. This is a 140% increase vs a few weeks back. We are collectively committing a blunder by recklessly ignoring all sop’s & the results have started to show. If we do not change our current path we will lose both lives and livelihoods,” he had tweeted.