ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the government will be compelled to impose a lockdown if coronavirus (COVID-19) standard operating procedures (SOPs) are not followed to curb the third wave of infections across the country.
The premier while briefing the media after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) to review the current COVID-19 situation across the country urged the public to follow SOPs otherwise the government will be forced to close down cities in order to curb the infection rate.
“If a lockdown is imposed the working class will suffer the most,” the premier said while warning the public that Pakistan could run into a similar situation as India, which is now facing a shortage of oxygen as the country reports one of the highest infection rates since the start of the pandemic.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister announced that the government is going to seek the help of the Pakistan Army to enforce SOPs and the curb the rising infection rate during the third wave of the deadly disease.
PM Imran Khan mentioned that the reason behind the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccination across the country is shortage of vaccine around the world and the government is trying to procure more doses for the country.
Head of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) Asad Umar while speaking alongside the premier said that the country has already utilized 90 percent of its oxygen production capacity.
The minister said that steps are being taken to improve the oxygen supply and urged people to follow SOPs and the pandemic seriously as done in the first wave of infections last year otherwise, everyone would have to suffer more strict restrictions.
Decisions taken at NCC meeting
It has been decided at the meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) that schools in cities with positivity ratio above 5 percent will remain closed until Eid-ul-Fitr and this includes classes 9 through 12, which were recently reopened to prepare students for the upcoming board exams.
Furthermore, the markets will stay open till 6pm only while essential businesses will be allowed to operate later. It is pertinent to mention that a list of these ‘essential businesses’ will be issued by the government.
Meanwhile, the restaurants will only be allowed to operate takeaway and delivery services with outdoor and indoor dining completely banned until Eid-ul-Fitr.
Indoor gyms are to remain closed as well and offices will operate with just 50 percent capacity while following 50 percent work from home policy.