ISLAMABAD: According to National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) chairman Asad Umar, the government has adopted a new policy in which towns with poor immunisation rates would face “greater limitations.”
Asad Umar, who was flanked by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, said the government has chosen to vaccinate cities and areas with higher coronavirus positive percentages.
“Vaccination is the only way ahead in combating the coronavirus, as the entire world knows,” he added. “Getting as many people vaccinated as possible is the quickest approach to eliminate coronavirus infections; otherwise, we’ll have to rely on closures,” he added.
Lockdowns and closures, he added, generally caused financial losses and commercial failures. Increased vaccination rates, however, do not imply that the coronavirus will be eradicated entirely in Pakistan, according to Umar.
“However, it ensures that individuals are able to live regular lives,” he explained.
“With all of this in mind, our NCOC meeting this morning determined that, beginning October 1, our choice to impose greater relaxation or limitations in SOPs for cities and districts will be based on their respective vaccination rates,” he explained.
SOPs relaxed in eight cities of Pakistan
Umar said that the NCOC had set a target to vaccinate 40% of the 15 and above age group in Pakistan’s 24 or 25 large cities. He said the cities who had achieved the targeted vaccination rate are Gilgit, Skardu, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar.
“We are about to relax restrictions in these eight cities from October 1,” he announced. “The rest of the cities and districts will have to implement on the same restrictions that are currently in place, till October 15,” he added.
Umar spoke about the relaxations that will be allowed to the above-mentioned eight cities, adding that indoor gatherings of up to 300 persons and outdoor gatherings of up to 1,000 persons will be allowed.
The NCOC chief said that persons who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, in these eight cities, will also be able to watch movies in cinema houses from October 1.
Fully vaccinated persons can also visit shrines in the eight cities, Umar said, adding that however, the provincial government and district administration will keep a check on how the arrangements are made for people to visit these shrines and check whether they have been vaccinated or not.
“Restaurants can remain open throughout the week for these eight cities,” he said. “The same goes for wedding halls. They can remain open seven days a week.
Umar announced another relaxation for vaccinated individuals from October 1, not necessarily from these eight cities, adding that food during flights will be served to them.
Pakistan reports less than 2,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day for fourth consecutive day
A day earlier, the data from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) showed that the daily COVID-19 case count went below 1,500 for the first time in more than two months after the country reported 1,400 fresh cases Tuesday morning. The country last reported less than 1,500 cases on July 23 at 1,425 cases.
The country also reported 52 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the national death tally to 27,690. With 2,970 recoveries in the same period, the tally for recoveries now stands at 1,167,189, NCOC’s data showed.
The daily positivity rate stands at 3.19%. It has been less than 3% for the last four days.