ISLAMABAD - Evidence shows that the disease is spreading, and the burden on hospitals is increasing, even the number of deaths per day has seen a rise. Yet, thankfully numbers support that COVID-19 has not overwhelmed the health system. In the comprehensive planning undertaken at the National Command and Operations Center, discussions are underway for future plans.

The lockdown debate is over. A strict lockdown, of the kind seen a few weeks ago, is not on the cards at present. It is becoming more and more evident that the world cannot stay shut for an indefinite period. We must learn to live with this disease until a vaccine is developed and made available.

While the lockdown was underway, routine immunizations suffered greatly, and the polio and measles campaigns were temporarily suspended, which are set to resume in near future.

Reassuringly, the planning undertaken in painstaking detail by the NCOC has ensured that we are nowhere close to exhausting the increasing requirements needed to tackle COVID-19. PPE equipments — regardless of whether the 18th amendment stipulates so or not — have been provided directly by the federal government to over 1,500 hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients.

Complaints of PPE equipment not being made available to doctors has been noted with serious concern, and investigations are underway whether PPE equipment dispatched to hospitals by the federal government is being used in the proper places. If not, punitive action can be taken.

Mask wearing has already been recommended across countries, and the same is expected to be followed in Pakistan. While there is an acceptance that life with COVID-19 must adapt, yet continue; there is also the affirmation that so much as stepping out of one’s house imbues one with the responsibility to protect others as well as oneself. If masks are not worn in public places, new laws will soon be active that shall ensure stern action can be taken against violators who pose danger to the health of the public at large. The dangers of COVID-19 cannot be erased in a day, but they can be mitigated with a solid strategy and meticulous preparation. Highly placed sources at the NCOC freely admit about the measures already in place that have prevented a disaster, “There is no way we could have pulled off the execution of this without the help of the Army.” Going forward, the discipline of the leadership of the NCOC will be vital to reflect in all of us, to ensure that Pakistan navigates through COVID-19 successfully.