NCOC reviews application of Ramazan SOPs

As the govt cautions people that the contagion could rapidly spread in the holy month

​ Our Correspondent April 27, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) undertook a comprehensive review of the implementation of Ramazan guidelines, package for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and health crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

“The people in urban areas need to be educated so that they can follow the guidelines issued by the government and not operate business as usual during the holy month,” Minister for Interior Brig (retd) Ejaz Ahmad Shah said while addressing the meeting on Sunday.

The meeting was chaired by Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and along with the interior minister was attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and other high-level officials.

The interior minister noted that people in villages were observing the instructions for the holy month, which was encouraging.

He remarked that the political leadership, particularly at district and union council level, had the most important role to play in creating awareness among the people to follow the pre-emptive measures against coronavirus.

The session sought feedback from the provinces regarding people complying with the Ramazan guidelines.

The forum deliberated upon the health crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak and discussed the future course of action to tackle the menace.

A day earlier, the first meeting of the NCOC took place to discuss implementation of testing, trace-tracking strategy, stock position of utility stores, flights update and development of medical equipment.

The NCOC, which is the nerve centre of the national Covid-19 containment activities, had already prepared a 48-day strategy, which had pre-Ramazan, Ramazan, and post-Ramazan components, all of which were aimed at educating and informing the public about the potential risks, advocating adherence to social distancing practices and other containment measures, guiding the people for observance during the holy month under the special circumstances, and ultimately preventing the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, the government has cautioned people that the contagion could rapidly spread in the holy month of Ramazan, rendering the frail health system incapable of accommodating all patients.

The warning came from SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Saturday hours after a senior doctor at Peshawar's Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) died of Covid-19.

Dr Mohammad Javed was an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist and had been working inside the Covid-19 ward of the hospital.

"He was on the frontline combating the coronavirus," HMC Director Shehzad Faisal said.

The PM’s aide advised the masses that they should change their routine of visiting shops and mosques.

“The trend observed on the first of Ramazan was not encouraging at all,” he said, adding that Covid-19 could rapidly spread during the holy month.

“People need to understand that if we don’t follow the precautionary measures, the situation may become worse. Pakistan is passing through a crucial, critical time when the disease can spread rapidly. I request the masses that they should change their routine of Iftar, Sehar and visiting mosques,” he warned.