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    NOCC mulls over future mechanism for coping with the pandemic

    Chitral Times Report

     

    ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Center (NOCC) mulls over future mechanism for overseas Pakistanis repatriation, new cases of coronavirus, quarantine facilities, test tracking and quarantine (TTQ) in four provinces, including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In this regard a high level meeting was held at the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Omar on Monday. Representatives of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan governments attended the meeting through video link while Minister for Interior Brig (R) Ejaz Ahmad Shah, Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for National Food Security Fakhar Imam, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security (SAPM) Dr Moeed Yousaf, SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for COVID-19 Dr Faisal Sultan, Lt Gen Hamood Uz Zaman and other officials were present in the meeting. A Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government representative told the meeting that the ratio of confirmed cases of corona virus in KP is 20 per cent, with more samples being sent to Peshawar for testing. The Chief Secretary Punjab informed the meeting that there are 24 ventilators functional in Nishtar Hospital Multan. Moreover, 34 additional ventilators have been provided to Tayyib Erdogab Hospital. He said that in the last 24 hours, 333 new cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Punjab out of which 143 new cases were local, 187 cases of Tableegi Jamaat members and 3 prisoners have been registered so far. He said that Pakistanis coming from abroad were being quarantined in their respective districts. He said that the provincial governments should also be informed about the Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) being sent to hospitals by the federal government. The Sindh government representative told the meeting that the provincial government had distributed equal PPEs to hospitals whereas the coronavirus testing kits by federal gover would be sent as per the requirement. He said that there were 2 chartered flights arriving in Sindh on the previous day. Minister Asad Umar directed to timely inform the provinces about the plan to bring back Pakistanis stranded abroad and take action on violation of the Aviation Protocol. A representative from Azad Jammu and Kashmir told the meeting that the affected patients of coronavirus were being kept in accordance with the scheduled SOPs, adding that 12 more patients would be discharged tomorrow. He said 46 tests had been done in the last 24 hours. From February 15 till now 26,361 suspected coronavirus patients quarantined through village teams. A representative of the Balochistan government told the meeting that 308 tests have been done in the last 24 hours whereas effective communication was developed with National and Provincial Disaster Management Authorites. A representative of the Gilgit-Baltistan government told the meeting that 150 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, out of which 6 were reported COVID-19 positive. He said that the NDMA had assured the establishment of a laboratory in Diamer. Chairman NDMA ensured that the equipment for the laboratory would be dispatched soon in Diamer. The Prime Minister’s Focal Person for COVID-19, Dr. Faisal Sultan said that the doctors and paramedical staff fighting on the frontline against coronavirus should ensure full implementation of the guidelines besides wearing N-95 masks. SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that cases of coronavirus among doctors and paramedical staff were mainly due to improper use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) whereas their training is essential for using PPEs. Major General Asif Goraya, Director Operations, National Command and Operations Center, briefed the meeting on Test, Tracking and Quarantine (TTQ). Chief Coordinator NCOC Lt Gen Hamood Uz Zaman said that TTQ is limited to tests and tracking whereas all aspects of it needed to be expanded. Chairman NDMA Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal and Executive Director NIH Maj Gen Amir Ikram also briefed the meeting.

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