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NCOC mulls over ‘living with the pandemic’ strategy to cope with coronavirus

Meeting held at NCOC in Islamabad on May 30, 2020. — Twitter(@PakPMO)

ISLAMABAD: The country’s new “living with the pandemic” strategy to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic was mulled over at a meeting held at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday.

“The NCOC recommended that the educational institutions be closed till August as the summer season and pandemic would be at [their] peak in July,” a statement from the government read.

The meeting, with Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in the chair, sought provinces’ feedback on “negative list” aiming to finalise the recommendations of opening some more sectors of the economy halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Brig (R) Syed Ejaz Ahmad Shah, Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, SAPM for Information and Broadcasting and Chairman China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Lt Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa, SAPM Dr on National Security Moeed Yusuf, SAPM Dr Mirza and SAPM on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus.

“The forum insisted that the marriage halls should only be allowed with [a] limited number of guests, one dish and strict compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs),” read the statement.

Meanwhile, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that the restaurants under the negative list would have to completely close their services or partially initiate its functions with only take away services.

Umar directed the concerned authorities to calculate the economic impact of COVID-19 in the first quarter of the current calendar year.

The forum was also apprised that the critical care resources would be increased owing to the surging risk of the pandemic.

The meeting was told the testing capacity of COVID-19 is being increased to 672,000.

In addition, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that although wearing of masks was mandatory, no punitive action was being taken against the violators.

The meeting “emphasised” the need to revise its communication strategy for better messaging and public outreach on the COVID-19 issue. 

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