Omicron led to recent surge in coronavirus cases in country, NCOC told

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday appealed the nation to follow the anti-COVID SOPs as a surge was being recorded in the coronavirus cases in the country. The prime minister, who chaired a meeting to discuss the COVID situation, said that the front line health workers and doctors had rendered numerous sacrifices to keep the countrymen safe from the disease, and also paid tribute to them. Therefore, he urged the people not to squander the success achieved against the coronavirus.

The prime minister directed the chief secretaries of the provinces to ensure implementation of the SOPs at crowded places, besides enforcing full vaccination, booster doses, use of masks and sanitizers. He also called for use of masks and sanitizers at the cattle markets set up ahead of Eidul Azha, weddings and other private gatherings.


The prime minister said the adherence to the SOPs was inevitable for the safety of one’s own as well as the dear ones. He said the performance of all institutions particularly the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) had been laudable during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The meeting was briefed in detail about the COVID-19 situation at local as well as the global level.

It was told that overall a downward trend was being observed in the number of cases across the world.

The participants were told that the new variant of the Omicron led to a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

PM appeals nation to follow SOPs amid COVID-19 surge


On June 28, over 3% cases were reported in the country on June 28, though the ratio of hospitalization in this variant was lesser than that of the previous waves.


The health authorities told the meeting that 86% of above 12 years population had been fully vaccinated while 93 percent got at least single shot. Currently, the country’s capacity was to vaccinate around 200,000 people per day.


It was told that whole of Sindh population had been fully vaccinated while the vaccination process was underway in Punjab and other provinces. Moreover, the steps were being taken to strictly monitor the movement of people on border and Pass Track APP was also being improved to make it easier to use.


The prime minister also directed the authorities concerned not only to ensure the enforcement of the SOPs but also carry out a mass awareness drive on the subject.


Federal minister Abdul Qadir Patel, Rana Sanaullah, Sherry Rehman, National Disaster Management Authority chairman, federal secretaries of information and national health services, and other senior officers attended the meeting. The chief secretaries of the four provinces joined the meeting via video link.


‘New visa regime for Afghans’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said the easy visa regime for Afghan nationals would bring the two countries closer and attract business from Central Asia.


“This facilitation in the visa regime is aimed at bringing both countries closer, helping Afghan people, and attracting business and investment from wider Central Asian region,” he said in a tweet.


The prime minister mentioned that he had directed the Interior Ministry to work on a more liberal visa policy.


He said the federal cabinet had approved changes in the visa regime for Afghan nationals.


“Now our embassies will process their visa applications on the basis of their current nationality,” he said.


PM Sharif said the Afghan drivers and transporters would get multiple visas within 48 hours for a period of up to one year.


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