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ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), in a bid to contain the alarming spread of the Covid-19 amid the fifth wave, has summoned a meeting of the provincial education and health ministers on January 17.

The NCOC took this decision here on Saturday at a time when the country recorded a coronavirus positivity ratio of 8.16 percent, which is the highest since August 11, 2021, and 4,286 Covid-19 infections, the highest since August 25, 2021.

The NCOC met here under the chairmanship of Asad Umar and decided to call up the meeting of the provincial education and health ministers to take fresh measures of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with a special focus on the education sector, public gatherings, marriage ceremonies, indoor/ outdoor dining, and the transport sector.

The NCOC also discussed the epidemic curve chart data, disease prevalence and proposed NPIs in the wake of rising disease trends in the country, especially in the urban centres.

NCOC to review Covid SOPs for education sector on Jan 17

The NCOC decided to extensively engage with the provinces, especially the Sindh government for necessary measures to tackle the rising disease. The meeting also decided to implement a complete ban on in-flight serving of meals/ snacks from January 17.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was asked to ensure in-flight mask-wearing and also implement SOPs at all the airports. Serving of meals and snacks in public transport will also be banned with effect from January 17.

The forum directed the provincial governments to take strict measures against violators of SOPs, especially, mask-wearing and to ensure enforcement of obligatory vaccination regime. The NCOC directed all the quarters to accelerate the ongoing vaccination drive and ramp up efforts to achieve vaccination targets.

After emergence of 4,286 new coronavirus cases the national tally of Covid-19 cases has reached 1,320,120, which include deaths, recovered, and under treatment patients. The country also reported four more coronavirus deaths taking the national tally to 29,003 since pandemic outbreak.

According to official figures, the Covid-19 positivity ratio in Karachi city has reached all-time high level of 35.30 percent, followed by Muzaffarabad 11.90 percent, Rawalpindi 9.94 percent, Lahore 8.5 percent, and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) 6.95 percent.

Sindh remains most pandemic-hit area in Pakistan with 3,089 cases reported in the past 24 hours taking the provincial case tally to 497,153. Sindh reported no death in the past 24 hours and the provincial death toll stands at 7,693.The Punjab reported 722 new Covid-19 cases and two deaths. Following the detection of 722 new cases in the Punjab, the provincial case tally has reached 451,408 and death toll 13,087 since the pandemic outbreak.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) reported 104 new cases and one death, taking the provincial case tally to 182,100 and death toll to 5,953.

The ICT reported a total 354 new Covid-19 cases and one death, following which the case tally in the ICT has reached 110,597 and death toll 968.

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) reported 13 new cases and no death, taking the AJK’s case tally to 34,739 and the death toll stands at 749.

Balochistan reported two more Covid-19 cases and no death; the provincial case tally has reached 33,684 and the death toll stands at 367.

Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has reported two more coronavirus cases and no deaths.

So far, the GB has reported a total 10,439 Covid-19 cases and 186 deaths.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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