Can't connect right now! retry
Friday Jul 09 2021

Clear early signs of fourth COVID-19 wave starting in Pakistan: Asad Umar

Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar. File photo
Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar. File photo

  • Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar warns of shutting down wedding halls, indoor restaurants and gyms if COVID-19 SOPs are not implemented.
  • Says cases are increasing due to poor compliance with safety protocols.
  • With 1,737 new infections, Pakistan recorded over 1,500 daily cases for the third continuous day Friday

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar Friday 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.

The federal minister, who is also the chief of the country’s apex COVID-19 body, 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 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.