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ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Chairman Asad Umar Wednesday warned of imposition of more restrictions owing to worsening Covid-19 situation in the country. Umar, who is also Federal Minister for Planning, after chairing a meeting of the NCOC, told a media briefing that there was a lack of implementation of Covid-19 SOPs during the third coronavirus wave. According to him, the number of critical cases has now exceeded 4,500. The NCOC noted that if the situation remains the same, they would have no choice but to shut down major cities. The minister said the number of admissions of corona patients in hospitals has now increased to over 600 per day from 100 to 150.

He said, in June last year, when the pandemic was on its peak during its first wave, the maximum number of patients on oxygen was around 3,400, which has now increased to 4,500.

Umar said the current week would be the worst in terms of the number of deaths as the highest ever number of Covid patients are expiring.

"At the NCOC, we reviewed the situation, which is certainly bad. We have taken several decisions to impose more curbs which would be announced on Friday," Umar said.

He added the positivity ratio in Karachi and Hyderabad is 13 percent and 14 percent, respectively, while in Mardan and Bahawalpur it is 33 percent and 38 percent.

"In several cities, more than 80 percent of ventilators are in use. We will have to increase the restrictions. If we do not contain the rapid spread of pandemic, we will have no option but to impose a complete lockdown in the big cities,” the minister said.

He said they would present their recommendations to the National Coordination Committee on Friday, which would take the final decision.

The minister warned that it was the last chance that the people should take the pandemic seriously as they did in the first wave last year, as, otherwise, they would have to suffer from strict restrictions.

Umar said that administrations have failed to implement the SOPs is a fact that has found its best expression from the results.

"Health facilities are under stress due to increasing number of positive cases, which has now crossed 83,000," he said.

He requested the chief ministers to “show leadership” in the battle against Covid-19.

“All possible assistance from the federal government is at their disposal, but the provincial governments have to show leadership on ground as the people will follow their message,” he added.

He also asked the chief ministers to take action against SOP violations and urged them to help the NCOC control the pandemic.

“You are the elected leaders, people have voted for you. They will listen to you,” he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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