NCOC’s right approach

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AS the Covid-19 situation is once again assuming dangerous dimensions especially in Karachi, where the positivity rate is crossing 30%, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), on Thursday, took several important decisions that might help cope with the situation without the need for adopting drastic precautionary measures.

After its meeting, Federal Minister Asad Umar announced that the NCOC has decided to set an August 31 vaccination deadline for “high risk” sectors.

Students above 18 years of age, those working in the transport sector, public sector employees, law enforcement agencies and staff working at hotels, restaurants, wedding halls, shopping malls and banks will have to get inoculated by August 31.

Over 4,000 new infections were reported in the country for the second-straight day on Thursday, which is the highest daily infections tally since May 1, when 4,414 Covid-19 cases were recorded.

In this backdrop, this is the most appropriate course as a final deadline has been given for vaccination of all those who come into contact with the general public on a daily basis, putting their own health as well as of others at risk.

After augmenting the supply side, the Government is aggressively carrying forward the vaccination drive as special teams are inoculating citizens at their doorsteps.

As this is a question of danger to the health of each and every citizen, it is the responsibility of the people to come forward and get themselves vaccinated but unfortunately many are staying away on flimsy grounds.

The Government has, therefore, been forced to make provision of vaccination certificates as a must for different occasions including air travel, attendance of indoor and outdoor functions and payment of salaries and pensions.

As the Sindh government was contemplating to impose a lockdown in Karachi, Asad Umar pointed out that closing down entire cities for weeks was not the solution to curbing the spread of the disease adding that Pakistan was among the world’s first few countries to realize that closing down the country was not an effective way to battle the pandemic.

He has logic as the economic activity has just started picking up and a lockdown especially in a city considered to be the nerve centre of the economic and business activities, would cause enormous damage to the economy and exports besides livelihood of the people.

Instead, there should be focus on increasing the pace of vaccination, making people follow the SOPs and opting for smart lockdowns in hotspots.

Social and economic sectors especially education have suffered hugely and we cannot afford re-imposition of lockdown on a large-scale.

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