Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has warned that if people do not strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 during the Eid al-Adha holidays, the country could witness a surge in infections.
Speaking at a special meeting of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) held in Quetta, he stressed the need for national unity and religious harmony in the country in order to meet challenges it was facing in the wake of the pandemic.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and provincial ministers attended the meeting which also reviewed arrangements for Eid prayers and other gatherings.
Umar appreciated the steps taken by the Balochistan government and the civil administration for protection of public health and the implementation of guidelines devised for it.
“All stakeholders should work together to inform the public about the code of conduct and SOPs for Eid al-Adha, Muharram and cattle markets’ activities,” he said.
He said the next two weeks were crucial with regard to the coronavirus, adding that if SOPs were not implemented the country would have to bear the brunt of negative effect of the 
Alyani lauded steps taken for convening the NCOC meetings in the provinces.
“Holding the meetings in provinces has facilitated coordination and understanding of important issues,” he said, adding that the NCOC had played a key role in providing resources and access to healthcare equipment and enhancing the capacity of the provinces.
He said that the whole nation through a long and difficult journey had successfully met the challenge of Covid-19 and contained the pandemic with the grace of God. The situation was improving with the passage of time, he added.
NCOC national co-ordinator Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan, National Assembly’s Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, focal person for Covid-19 Dr Faisal Sultan, Balochistan chief secretary Fazeel Asghar, parliamentary secretary of Balochistan Health Dr Rubaba Khan, federal health secretary Aamir Khan, COS southern command Maj Gen Dilawar Khan, Balochistan Police Inspector General Mohsin Hassan Butt and other senior officials attended the meeting.
The chief secretaries of other provinces also participated in the meeting through video links.

103-year-old man survives Covid-19

A 103-year-old man has recovered from Covid-19 in Pakistan to become one of the oldest survivors of the disease in the world, beating the odds in a country with a weak healthcare system, his relatives and doctors said.
Aziz Abdul Alim, a resident of a village in the mountainous northern district of Chitral, was released last week from an emergency response centre after testing positive in early July.
“We were worried for him given his age, but he wasn’t worried at all,” Alim’s son Sohail Ahmed told Reuters on the phone from his village, close to Pakistan’s border with China and Afghanistan.
Ahmed quoted his father as saying that he had been through a lot in life and the coronavirus did not scare him. He did however, not like being in isolation.
A carpenter until his 70s, Alim has outlived three wives and nine sons and daughters, said Ahmed, who is himself in his 50s, adding that his father had separated from his fourth wife and is currently married to his fifth.
Alim also had to be provided with moral and psychological support during his isolation and treatment, Dr Sardar Nawaz, a senior medical officer at the Aga Khan Health Service emergency centre, said yesterday.
The makeshift centre was set up in a girls’ hostel just weeks before Alim was brought in and is the only one equipped to deal with Covid-19 patients for miles.
Pakistan has registered more than 270,000 cases of the disease and 5,763 deaths. While the number of people testing positive has dropped over the last month, government officials fear there could be another rise during Eid al-Adha, which falls on August 1.
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