Minister for Planning and Development and National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) chairperson Asad Umar has said the country has witnessed a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, warning that if the standard operation procedures (SOPs) are not followed, the government will be forced to take stricter measures.

“Sharp spike in COVID positivity,” wrote Umar in a tweet. “Hospital daily admissions and people in critical care rising fast.”

“If SOP compliance does not improve, we will be forced to place stronger restrictions on activities,” warned the minister, adding: “The new strain spreads faster and is more deadly.”


The NCOC also warned the same in a statment.

“The NCOC was apprised on implementation of various health guidelines as already issued to all federating units. NCOC was apprised that implementation on those guidelines needs comprehensive review. NCOC showed serious concern on rising disease trend and mortality rate,” read the statement.

“The forum was briefed that a sharply rising trend in disease is visible and positivity has crossed 7.5 percent. Almost all major cities have crossed 5% positivity,” it said further. “Provincial administrations have been asked to take immediate actions for strict implementation of SOPs.”

The NCOC added that “serious concern was shown on general disregard of SOPs by masses. Mass violations of SOPs and disrespect of orders including not wearing of mask, disregard of social distancing are widely reported.”

It appealed to the citizens “to display good example of social behavior and follow the SOPs in letter and spirit, otherwise, strict measures will have to be taken which may result into closure of business and restrictions on economic and social activities.”

The NCOC further said that COVID vaccination centers across the country will remain closed on Sundays and national holidays.

Read more – COVID-19: Here’s what you can and cannot do amid lockdown in Punjab

Later, Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar also urged businesses and corporations to strictly implement COVID protocols to avoid inconvenience.

According to the latest statistics, Pakistan has reported a total of 3,495 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. This is the highest number of daily cases recorded since 3,795 cases on December 6, 2020.

A total of 61 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, the national positivity rate has risen to 7.8 per cent as the country battles a third wave of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Umar on Wednesday also announced that over 41 thousand people were vaccinated the previous day marking the highest daily vaccination rate. Vaccinations for those aged 60 and above commenced on March 10.