The Announcement: Speaking to the media after attending a meeting with the NCOC (National Command and Operations Centre), the Minister for Planning and Development expressed concerns over the trajectory of the dangerous third wave of the novel coronavirus.
Warning from the Minister: Asad Umar shed light on how the current death and positivity rate is far higher than the first wave back in June 2020, and also talked about how supplies are scarce and hospitals are getting overwhelmed. He mentioned how 4500 patients are on oxygen right now, compared to 3300 in June 2020, which shows a scary 30% increase. The Minister also expressed concern over the oxygen supply chain.
He added ‘this is our last chance’. He insisted that further restrictions will be placed on different districts according to their COVID-19 situation, because if these steps are not taken right now, entire cities might have to be closed down, causing even more economic distress in this already difficult time.
Advice: He advised Pakistanis to be more and more cautious and to strictly follow SOPs at all costs. He also requested all provincial chief ministers to steer away from politics at this time and focus on forming a consensus in leadership to help Pakistan get out of this difficult period.
Focus of meeting: The Minister informed the media that the NCOC had decided on further restrictions and these would be shared with provincial and district governments on Friday and implemented right after. He mentioned that these decisions were being taken because of the stark increase in positivity rates among major cities. Major concerns were expressed over high positivity rates in cities like Mardan 33%, 38% Bahawalpur, 28% Rawalpindi, 27% in Lahore and 26% in Peshawar.