ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to hold meetings of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in the provincial capitals to devise a strategy to curb the possible spread of Covid-19 during Eidul Azha, and the first meeting in this regard would take place in Lahore on Monday (today).
The meeting would be chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, an official statement said on Sunday.
In the last 24 hours, 2,842 new virus cases and 87 fatalities were reported across the country. The total caseload of the country, therefore, reached 250,977 while the total deaths stood at 5,257.
The data released by the NCOC showed that about 400 patients, 393 to be exact, were on ventilators across the country on Sunday while 1,427 ventilators were available for new patients. Moreover, a total of 24,211 tests had been carried out during the day.
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Talking to Dawn about the meeting to be held in Lahore, Mr Umar said: “Though there is representation of the provinces in NCOC, but the idea behind the decision is to hold separate meetings with the leadership of every province and discuss different issues and difficulties faced by them.”
During the meeting, he said, issues like the number of Covid-19 tests carried out each day and contact tracing of patients would be discussed in detail.
The strategy to deal with the ongoing health crisis has been formulated but the main issue is how to implement the same in letter and spirit, according to the minister.
“So it has been decided that issues related to implementation will be discussed with all the provinces and solutions will be suggested to them,” he said.
In response to a question, the minister said that meetings with leaderships of all the provinces would be held before Eid to ensure that the deadly virus did not spread as much as it was feared during the upcoming religious festival.
“Though it is not confirmed yet, but most likely we will hold the next meeting in Sindh,” Mr Asad said.
According to the official statement, during the meeting in Lahore enforcement of the standard operating procedures would also be discussed.
The meeting would be attended, among others, by Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, feberal Interior Minister retired Brig Ejaz Shah, the provincial health and law ministers, chief secretary and inspector general of the province, and national coordinator for NCOC.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Housing and Works Tariq Bashir Cheema, who tested positive for Covid-19 three days ago, was admitted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad, on Sunday.
According to sources in the hospital, the 62-year-old minister, who is also a central leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, is suffering from other ailments in addition to Covid-19.
He had initially quarantined himself at his home but had to be shifted to hospital due to low oxygen level and other complications.