KARACHI - The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday directed the provinces to ensure strict compliance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on Eid-ul-Azha and during the holy month of Muharram along with encouraging public adherence to safety guidelines.

The NCOC special session was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar who was flanked by NCOC National Coordinator Lieutenant General Hamood Uz Zaman Khan and central team of the forum.

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah while hosting the NCOC exclusive session welcomed the NCOC central team and said that the role of NCOC in coping with the pandemic was significant. The sessions of NCOC in provincial capitals would enhance coordination and prove to be helpful for provincial management in fighting against the pandemic. However, at the outset of coronavirus outbreak, the provincial governments were facing issues related to hospitals’ facilities for COVID treatment which were collectively resolved by the federal and provincial governments.

He added that the health facilities were in a better position and there was a need to take preemptive measures to manage Eid-ul-Azha, Muharram and Rabi-ul-Awwal.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister and Chairman of NCOC Asad Umar said the purpose of holding special sessions in provinces was to make consultations on core issues with provincial governments and acknowledge their efforts in fight against COVID-19.

He also said that selective lockdown was being carried out in hotspot areas against the spread of coronavirus in the province. He said that two separate hospitals for treatment of coronavirus patients had been established in Karachi.

He also said that sale and purchase of sacrificial animals in streets had been banned in the province.

He added that wearing of masks and SOPs compliance along with a monitoring mechanism in place were crucial in cattle markets to contain coronavirus pandemic. “Decline in COVID-19 patients’ deaths and active cases does not mean to get complacent and avoid following safety protocols as it will deteriorate the situation.”

He added that the doctors, paramedics, administration and law enforcement agencies of Sindh including all provinces had rendered meritorious services that deserve appreciation.

Federal Minister for Interior Brig (R) Ejaz Ahmed Shah said that all provinces were engaged in the process of devising SOPs and guidelines where as implementation was also being ensured. He added that the guidelines were shared with the provinces where punitive action was launched against illegal cattle markets.

Ejaz Ahmed Shah mentioned that a strong mechanism of control would also be made in place to ensure strict compliance of SOPs in cattle markets.

He added that the guidelines for holy month of Muharram were also underway and would be shared with the provinces.

The forum lauded the test and tracing mechanism of Sindh and also acknowledged that it had tremendously implemented the test, trace and quarantine (TTQ) Strategy.

Provincial Ministers for Health, Education, Local government, Inspector General of Police Sindh, Provincial Chief Secretaries and others through video link participated in the meeting.

Federal Minister Asad Umar along with Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar visited COVID-19 Infection Disease and Research Centre established at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

Talking to media after the visit, Asad Umar said that record amount is allocated for health sector in the federal’s budget for fiscal year 2020-21, adding that efforts are being made across the country with assitance of respective provincial governments.

 

He said that basically health was a provincial subject but since we were facing a pandemic and emergency situation, we had decided to establish 7,000 beds across the country till July 2020. “Out of these 7,000 beds, 500 beds will be establish at Karachi. I am grateful that Abbasi Shaheed Hospital has completed its task for establishment of beds,” he added.

The Federal Minister said that a modern laboratory should also be established along with Infection Disease and Research Centre. “The centre would fully support the KMC for up-gradation of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital,” he said.

Asad Umar said that he would talk to Chairman Provincial Disaster Management Authority to ensure provision of oxygen kits for isolation ward at the KMC’s hospital. “I will also ask Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to resolve financial issues of health institutions including Abbasi Shaheed Hospital,” he added.