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  • Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar says lockdown is not the solution to control virus.
  • “Islamabad has the highest enforcement of health guidelines of around 56.4%, while in Sindh it is 33%,” says Umar. 
  • Faisal Sultan says pressure on health facilities has increased manifold.

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Thursday set an August 31 deadline for sectors dealing with the public to get their staff vaccinated.

Addressing a press briefing after a meeting at the NCOC, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar said that the government is targeting to ramp up vaccinations and take it to the one million daily mark, which he said is only possible with the assistance of the public.

SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, who was also present during the session, said that critical care cases, which were less than 2,000 in June, have surged past 3,000.

He said that the pressure on health facilities across the country has increased considerably during the last few days as the infection rate has spiked.

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The minister said students over 18 years of age, teachers, transporters, government employees, hotel and wedding hall staffers and personnel of law enforcement agencies must get themselves vaccinated before the end of the next month.

“We have identified that banks, markets, public offices and schools are the sectors dealing with the public and in order to curb the virus spread, vaccination has been made mandatory for those working in these sectors,” the minister said.

Umar said that those who are not vaccinated by August 1 will not be allowed to teach.

He warned the public that the situation is getting worse and if the government-mandated safety protocols are not followed, it would get worse.

According to the NCOC data collected for the 26-28 July period, he said, the implementation on SOPs is not as good as it was earlier.

“Islamabad has the highest enforcement of health guidelines of around 56.4%. Next is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 46%, Punjab is 38%, while the lowest [enforcement] is in Sindh and Balochistan at 33%,” he said.

Expressing concerns over the Karachi situation where the positivity ratio has exceeded 30%, Umar supported the steps taken by the Sindh government to curb the spread and said the federal government will extend all support to the province.

“Sindh is taking proactive measures, which is the right thing to do right now,” he said.

On media reports of a possible lockdown in Karachi, he said this is not the solution.

“In the past one year, we have learnt that shutting down had not worked and it won’t work now. So the only way forward is to vaccinate and follow SOPs.”

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