Minister Asad Umar appreciated the role media played in crisis communication and community engagement during the pandemic. PHOTO: NCOC/FILE

Covid-19 upsurge: NCOC to review resumption of regular classes in schools

Top Covid response body also reconsiders lifting curbs on cinemas, indoor dinning and wedding halls from March 15

APP March 08, 2021

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday decided to revisit school opening modalities in the prevailing rising trend of Covid-19 across the country in its next session.

The nerve centre of the government’s unified efforts to stem Covid-19 spread also mulled over lifting time limits and other curbs on cinemas, indoor weddings and dining in at restaurants, which were expected to take effect from March 15, amid rising positivity trend of the coronavirus with the next review to be held in the first week of April.

The NCOC meeting, chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and flanked by National Coordinator Lieutenant General Hamood Uz Zaman Khan, discussed update from the provinces on rising positivity rate and corresponding actions, vaccination progress and national vaccine strategy where the provincial representatives participated in the meeting via video-link.

The forum reviewed the rising positivity trend prevailing across the country and expressed its concerns over public complacency in following non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs or alternate measure to treat the disease other than medical treatment).

Read more: Covid-19 vaccination drive to kick off from next week: Asad

It directed the provincial administrations to ensure strict enforcement of NPIs at the grassroots level to contain the disease spread as slackness in adhering to safety guidelines would trigger the contagion outbreak.

Covid-19 first emerged in the country in February last year and hit a peak in mid-June. However, it started to decline in the following months but surged again in October 2020, prompting the government to issue a warning of the second wave.

Last month, the federal government decided to lift the time limit from commercial activities and amusement parks as well as the condition for public/private offices to enforce 50% work-from-home policy for staff.

The NCOC had also allowed the opening of cinemas and shrines with effect from March 15 but also asked the masses to continue to adhere to SOPs of wearing masks, social distancing and said that the policy of smart lockdowns will continue when required.


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