The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday urged workers from across various industries to get vaccinated by July 31 amid the threat posed by the “extremely dangerous” Delta (Indian) coronavirus variant.
According to a statement by the forum, Delta variant cases have emerged in Pakistan and there is a possibility that these would lead to a fourth coronavirus wave.
To tackle with the variant as well as other variants that have emerged in Pakistan, the NCOC has chalked out a plan of action.
“Failure to take precautionary measures against the Delta variant can lead to dangerous consequences,” said the statement.
The NCOC observed that due to the Delta variant, hundreds of thousands of people in India died, and coupled with a shortage of oxygen, countless people suffered.
The forum decided that enforcement of safety precautions would be ramped up, especially during the July 9-18 period.
Various proposals are under consideration to curb unnecessary movement on Eid, the statement said, adding that the decision to implement the proposals will be made keeping in view the spread of the virus.
The country’s apex COVID-19 body warned of a ban on tourist spots if cases continue to rise.
Workers of the following sectors must get vaccinated by July 31:
- Private, corporate sector employees.
- Small, medium and large industry employees.
- Workers associated with the agriculture and media sectors, lawyers, factory workers, and those who work in markets, including cart vendors.
- All workers associated with the transport and hotel industry.
- All gymnasium workers.
- Employees of mosques, including imams.
- Employees of workshops and wedding halls.
Students on the other hand, aged 18 and above, are required to get vaccinated by August 31.
Vaccination certificate policy
The NCOC said that no one will be allowed to travel without a vaccination certificate after August 1.
Visitors to tourist spots aged 30 and above will not be allowed without a vaccination certificate.
Moreover, hotel bookings are prohibited without vaccination certificates.
NCOC chief warns there are signs of fourth wave
Earlier in the day, NCOC chief Asad Umar said there are “clear early signs” of the fourth COVID-19 wave starting in Pakistan due to poor compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the spread of the Delta variant.
Umar said that he had warned two weeks back that the government’s artificial intelligence models are showing a possible emergence of the fourth wave in July.
Umar expressed displeasure over non-compliance of the COVID-19 protocols and warned of shutting down the sectors not adhering to the directives issued by health authorities.
“Field reports are showing a complete disregard of the condition of vaccination for those attending indoor weddings and going to indoor restaurants and gyms. If the owners of these facilities do not show responsibility and ensure compliance, there will be no choice but to shut them down,” he tweeted.
PM urges use of masks, vaccination
Yesterday, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the nation in a televised statement, urging the public to strictly observe the government’s mandated COVID-19 SOPs, especially on the occasion of Eid ul Adha, to keep the virus at bay.
“Even though I know that people are fed up of following the SOPs across the world and I understand that, I would again like to appeal to the masses to [at least] wear a mask at all times so that the country could be saved from the possible fourth wave of the pandemic.”
He explained that masks should be worn at all times whenever someone is in a confined space with other people — including wedding functions, restaurants, and rooms — because the chances of the virus spreading within indoor environments are extremely high.
“If someone is out in the open, for example in a park, they can take their masks off, but when they are inside a bus or a car with other people, for instance, they must wear a mask,” the premier explained while holding a mask in his hands.
“It’s a very easy job to wear a mask, and this simple step can save the country and our economy from disaster,” he continued.
PM Khan said that across the world, poverty has spread and the poor had to suffer because of lockdowns.
“I would, therefore, ask Pakistanis to mandatorily wear masks and observe precautions, especially during the occasion of Eid ul Adha,” he said.
“The government exerted a lot of pressure on people to adhere to the SOPs and I appreciate the nation for bearing with us, but if you want to avoid further lockdowns and restrictions, then continue to wear a mask,” he said.
The premier also urged people to get vaccinated. He said that even though Pakistan does not manufacture the anti-coronavirus vaccine on its own and the vaccination drive is not as quick as it is in the US for instance, people should take advantage of the available vaccines in the country and get themselves inoculated as soon as possible.