Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday visited the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the nation’s nerve centre in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
During their visit, NCOC Director General Maj Gen Asif Mahmood Goraya apprised the forum of the latest Covid-19 situation, measures in place to contain the spread of the disease, vaccine administration efforts, and the future Covid-19 management strategy, according to a statement issued by the NCOC.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Imran “appreciated the efforts of NCOC and all federating units for [a] synergised response during [the] pandemic for ensuring the safety and well-being of the people of Pakistan”.
He directed all stakeholders to maximise their efforts for the mandatory vaccination drive and enforcement of the requisite non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), the statement said.
Later, the premier presented an NCOC memento to Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan on his retirement.
He was recognised for his “outstanding services” as the national coordinator at the NCOC and for playing “an instrumental role in the nation’s fight against Covid 19 through flawless management of resources and seamless coordination among all stakeholders”.
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar — who heads the NCOC — also recognised the services of Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan.
“He is retiring from service after a distinguished career in the Pakistan Army spanning more than three decades. For me, he was the best co-pilot I could have asked for in facing the daunting challenge posed by Covid,” the minister said.
Covid-19 cases have been on the decline in Pakistan. The country reported less than 1,000 infections for the third day in a row on Monday, recording 663 Covid cases during the last 24 hours.
On Saturday, NCOC data had shown that the number of critical patients, which stood at around 6,000 in August, had fallen to around 2,000.
Last week, in view of the slowing spread of the disease, the NCOC had lifted restrictions on one-day weekly closure of businesses, and reopened cinemas and shrines for fully vaccinated people.
However, it kept NPIs in place from October 16 till 31 in districts with a high prevalence of coronavirus cases.
The forum also raised the number of guests attending indoor weddings from 200 to 300 and those participating in outdoor marriage events from 300 to 500. It further said the NPIs would be reviewed at a meeting set for Oct 28.