No choice but to close major cities if COVID-19 situation doesn’t improve: Asad Umar

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar on Wednesday warned of more restrictions due to the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the country. The federal minister, after chairing an important session at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), addressed a media briefing to discuss the worsening situation. He said there was a lack of implementation of COVID-19 standard operating procedures during the third coronavirus wave and critical cases have now exceeded 4,500. The NCOC noted that if the situation remains the same, then they would have no choice but to shut down major cities. “At the NCOC, we reviewed the pandemic situation, which is bad. We have taken several decisions to impose more curbs which would be announced on Friday,” Umar said, adding major cities are not being closed right now, but a margin of only some days is left. He added that the positivity ratio in Karachi and Hyderabad is 13% and 14% respectively, while in Mardan it is 33% and 38% in Bahawalpur. “In several cities, more than 80% of ventilators are in use.” Umar said the administration has failed to implement the SOPs and the results are evident. “Health facilities are under stress due to increasing number of positive cases which have now crossed 83,000.” He also asked the chief ministers to take action against SOP violations and urged them to help the NCOC control the pandemic. “You are the elected leaders, people have voted for you. They will listen to you,” he said.

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