Covid curbs eased in hotspots as cases decline

Single-day tally of fresh cases fall below 2,000 for first time since July 23

Our Correspondent September 21, 2021

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced the lifting of additional non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in six coronavirus hotspots on Tuesday after noticing a gradual decline in disease prevalence.

The NCOC – the government’s forum for synchronised anti-Covid strategy – also announced that the basic services to the public would be banned for the non-vaccinated individuals from October 1, urging the masses to get their Covid-19 vaccine jab at the earliest.

The government had announced additional NPIs in 24 districts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the federal capital in the first week of September. However, as the pandemic pressure receded, the curbs were eased in 18 districts last week.

An NCOC meeting on Tuesday, chaired by Planning Minister Asad Umar, decided to lift the additional NPIs in the remaining six districts – Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha, Gujarat and Bannu from Wednesday (today).

“The general NPIs will remain enforced till September 30 across the country which will be reviewed on September 28, 2021 at the NCOC,” the forum said in a statement. “The NCOC is closely monitoring the disease spread and the healthcare system on a daily basis,” it added.

The NCOC said that whenever a need arose to control the spread of the disease, the decisions would be taken accordingly. In a separate announcement, it warned the masses to get their Covid-19 vaccine jab, as basic services rendered to public would be banned for non-vaccinated individuals from October 1.

Read Smart lockdown proving fruitless

“Warning! From October 1, all facilities used in daily life will be closed to all people who have not been vaccinated,” the NCOC declared on the micro-blogging website Twitter. The forum asked the general public to get their vaccination done as soon as possible and keep life going.

It the NCOC statement, it was emphasised that SinoPharm vaccine doses were abundantly available, therefore, the general public could complete their vaccination process without any delay. It also said that those whose second jab was due could visit any vaccination centre any time to receive the shot.

The country had recently been in the grip of an intensive fourth wave of the pandemic, driven by the Indian-origin Delta variant of the coronavirus. However, the cases had started declining recently, falling below 2,000 on Tuesday – for the first time since July 23.

Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, lauded the efforts of the media team associated to the forum for coordinated reporting and raising awareness about the pandemic. “Want to acknowledge members of an aspect of covid response which played a vital role in success: The information team,” he tweeted.

Also read Citizens can receive second dose throughout the week: NCOC

Umar said kudos for the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) and various departments of the health and information ministries for managing the news communication for credible and genuine information pertaining to decisions made at the forum to contain the disease spread.

The NCOC chief also mentioned the departments for their vital support particularly the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and ISPR Director General Maj-Gen Babar Iftikhar.

Meanwhile, the NCOC said in the daily update of the disease prevalence that the national tally of active Covid-19 cases fell further to 62,922 as 1,897 more people tested positive for the virus while 2,618 people recovered from the disease during the last 24 hours.

However, the death toll during that period doubled from the 40 registered a day earlier. The forum said that 81 patients died during the last 24 hours, of whom 72 breathed their last in hospitals, including 29 on ventilators. Most of the deaths, it added, occurred in Punjab followed by Sindh.

The national positivity ratio during the past 24 hours was 4.1%. According to the update, 5,085 patients were admitted to various Covid-dedicated health facilities across the country, including 4,846 in critical condition. During the last 24 hours, six more patients were admitted to hospitals.

As of Tuesday, the national caseload of the disease rose 1,227,905 since the breakout of the pandemic in February 2020. Among them, 1,137,656 have made full recovery from the disease, while 27,327 people could not survive.



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