NCOC moves at last

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THE National Command and Operations Centre said on
Thursday that special teams have been constituted for the implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures against the Coronavirus as countrywide cases shockingly piled up third day in a row. It said that the teams will operate across all the provinces to ensure that the SOPs are being implemented, imposing a fine upon violation.
The decision comes in the backdrop of the country recording its highest number of positive cases in a day for the third consecutive day on Thursday with 4,688 new infections and 82 deaths. The new positive cases have risen in Pakistan overtaking China, from where the virus emerged, in the number of positive cases, which should be a source for serious concern for planners and decision-makers. As the government has taken a principled decision to open up more and more sectors discarding the option of imposition of stricter lockdown, the only option available to contain the spread of the virus is to make people observe safety precautions and guidelines. The Government should have a clear and unanimous approach to tackle the situation as we cannot afford laxity in view of dangerous surge in infections and deaths. It is not clear what would be the number of the special teams and whether they would cover the entire country in a satisfactory manner in the backdrop of daredevil violations being observed all over the country.
Special teams might have a limited role in view of the accessibility issue and, therefore, there is need to sensitize and activate District Administrations, Police and Tiger Force. The threat is real and violators are not just endangering their own health and life but also that of others, there should be drastic penalties for violators. Islamabad Local Government has done well by deciding to seal at least nine places in the Federal Capital following surge in Coronavirus cases where contingents of Pakistan Army and Rangers have been summoned while tests of the residents will also be conducted. Lahore City Administration has also started sealing shops for violating the SOPs issued by the provincial government and similar action is needed in all cities and towns on an urgent basis. So far, the raids are aimed at conveying a message to violators but sealing of shops and businesses should be accompanied by fines and possible arrests if sanity does not prevail. Public transport is also becoming one of the major sources of infections in the absence of any effective check and careless attitude of both the transporters and passengers who are not even wearing masks. This aspect should also be taken notice of by concerned administration besides enforcement of safety guidelines in mosques.

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