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    ‘Early signs’ of fourth COVID-19 wave in Pakistan, says NCOC chief

    Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar. File photo

    ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar Friday warned of shutting down wedding halls, indoor restaurants and gyms if the COVID-19 SOPs are not implemented as the 4th wave started to hit Pakistan.

    The chief of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), said that there are clear early signs of the fourth wave starting in the country Pakistan due to poor compliance with SOPs and the spread of the Delta variant.

    Asad Umar said that he had warned two weeks back that the government’s artificial intelligence models are showing possible emergence of the fourth wave in July.

    He said that now there are “clear early signs of 4th wave starting” in the country due to “poor SOP compliance, coupled with the spread of variants of concern, Indian variant [Delta variant], in particular, are the main cause”.

    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.

    The warning from the chief of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) came after the country reported a positivity rate of over 3% for three consecutive days.

    A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also urged the masses to strictly observe the government’s mandated COVID-19 SOPs on Eidul Adha to keep the virus at bay.

    The PM had warned the nation about the dangers of the Delta variant — which first emerged in India — and said that India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Indonesia are currently suffering because of it.

    “Given the current situation in countries like Afghanistan, where there is an acute shortage of oxygen, I would like to say a few things to the nation,” the PM had said.

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