ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) closed its operations on Thursday after all the pandemic indicators touched an all-time low in the country.
The announcement was made by NCOC head and Planning Minister Asad Umar on Twitter. Soon afterwards Prime Minister Imran Khan confirmed the closure of the forum and felicitated it for a nationally-coordinated response to the pandemic.
Over the past few days, the single-day tally of fresh cases, the national positivity ratio, the daily death toll and the hospitalisation of critical cases, all have come down. Even during the last 24 hours, there were 244 new Covid-19 cases, while six deaths were registered whereas 439 patients were in critical condition.
“With Allah’s mercy and support of the entire nation, we have been able to overcome this unprecedented challenge of COVID-19,” Umar said in a tweet. “Today is the last day of NCOC operation,” he added.
Umar also said that from now on the functions of the NCOC, such as monitoring of the pandemic and administration of vaccines etc, would be taken over by the health ministry. “With Covid indicators at all-time lows and high level of vaccination, baton now being passed on to (the) health ministry,” he said.
On the last day of the forum, Umar also spoke to the media. He noted the positive contribution of all the institutions and different segments of society, including religious scholars, saying that they played a pivotal role in the fight against the pandemic.
Addressing a press conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, Umar said that keeping in view the lowest level of the pandemic expansion and the highest level of vaccination across the country, the government had decided to close down the NCOC.
“It makes me immensely proud as a Pakistani that the country received praise for its Covid response as one of the most successful in the world from global agencies and personalities,” he said, “With Allah’s mercy and support of the entire nation, we have been able to overcome this unprecedented challenge”.
He specifically thanked the nation for cooperating with the government by acting upon the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the forum to control the pandemic and successfully overcoming this challenge. He also thanked all the stakeholders involved in this whole operation.
The minister particularly mentioned the name of Director General Operations Major General Asif Goraya, terming him “a national hero” who played major role at NCOC. He also praised Dr Sultan and his team.
“Above all, the real character and the mastermind of the success story was Prime Minister Imran Khan, who from day one directed to keep a balance between the lives and the livelihoods. This smart approach helped in saving the people from dying of the pandemic and hunger,” he added.
The PM tweeted: “Today, as NCOC closes down, I want to congratulate the NCOC team and it’s Leadership for a professional, nationally-coordinated response to the pandemic. As a result, our Covid response was recognised by international agencies and people in the field as one of the most successful [stories] globally.”
Coronavirus first emerged in December 2019. The first Covid case in Pakistan was detected on February 26, 2020. Within days the disease spread as more cases emerged in different parts of the country. The prime minister formed the NCOC to implement decisions of the National Coordination Committee on Coronavirus, headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan himself.
The NCOC was the principal body governing the policies and implementation of the national Covid-19 response. It was formed in April 2020 on the orders of the Prime Minister Imran Khan to collate, analyse, and process information received from across the country.