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ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), on Saturday said it is considering the enforcement of a lockdown in cities reporting high positivity ratio.

The statement follows an NCOC session held earlier today (Saturday), with Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in the chair.

According to the NCOC statement, in light of increasing coronavirus cases, the forum “deliberated upon proposed lockdowns in high disease prevalence cities”.

The NCOC, clarified that talks would be held with stakeholders before a lockdown is imposed.

The restrictions, if enforced, would include the closure of markets, malls, less essential services, a ban on intercity public transport, and a complete closure of educational institutes.

To ensure that the lockdown achieves its target of curbing the virus’ spread, the assistance of the army, Frontier Corps, and Rangers, would be provided to the provincial governments, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the forum was given a detailed briefing on oxygen supply to health care facilities.

“A total of 6,901 beds have been inducted to meet the increased requirements due to surge in COVID cases. Oxygen supply is also being critically monitored,” noted the statement.

Lauding the National Disaster Management Authority for enhancing health care facilities’ capacity, the forum noted it had added 2,811 oxygen beds, 431 ventilators, 1,196 oxygen cylinders, 500 BiPAP, and 1,504 finger pulse oxymeters.

The forum also decided to extend the two-day inter-provincial transport ban — on Saturday and Sunday — till May 17, 2021, which was earlier imposed till April 25.

Meanwhile, in a positive development, the NCOC decided to open walk-in vaccine facility for people older than 60 — which was earlier restricted to people over 65 years. Pakistan will be getting another consignment of 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses from China today, the NCOC said.

This follows a consignment of the Chinese-made SinoVac vaccine that had arrived in Islamabad on board a Pakistan Air Force plane two days ago.

The NCOC had said at the time that half a million doses of the Chinese-made SinoVac vaccine doses were purchased and were not a donation.

In the last 24 hours, Pakistan reported 157 coronavirus-related deaths, making it the country’s highest single-day death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began last year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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