Procurement of COVID-19 vaccines will take some time: Asad Umar

The head of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Asad Umar has said that the completion of the procurement process of COVID-19 vaccines will take some time as the federal government initiated talks with China.

Asad Umar, while addressing a press conference today, said that efforts are underway for getting the COVID-19 vaccines and talks with China have commenced. Vaccines for frontline workers will arrive soon in Pakistan, he said.

However, the completion of the procurement process of COVID-19 vaccines will take some time, said Asad Umar. He once again appealed the nationals to continue taking precautions against the virus.

The Minister for Planning and Development said that the federal government had been recommended to implement strict curbs amid the recent situation of the pandemic instead of imposing smart lockdown.

A survey conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) revealed that around 55.5 million workforce exists in the country including a large number of women. During the countrywide lockdown, business activities had been halted due to which more than 20 million people lost their livelihood, he said.

The NCOC said the government will have to make decisions in view of health and employment following the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The pilot project, testing and quarantine system had been initiated on April 10 which was made fully operational from April 24.

The curbs had been gradually lifted following the decisions taken within a few of weeks besides reopening of business sectors of the country. The country’s workforce had returned to their employment in October, whereas, the construction sector witnessed hike amid coronavirus.

Millions of people lost their jobs in neighbouring India, as well as millions of people in developed countries. Even the chief advisor of Obama had once asked the US government to adopt decisions like Pakistan to reduce the financial losses, said Umar.

Umar said that PM Imran Khan was extremely worried about the livelihoods of those people selling goods on hand carts or daily wagers. The government had reopened its industries and construction sector during its first phase, he detailed.

The closure of the construction sector affected the income of people up 80 per cent, whereas, 70 per cent people are associated with the transport sector.

During the survey, it emerged that no one was dying of hunger but 47 per cent people were forced to spend savings and 30 per cent nationals acquired loans from their relatives or friends to go through the lockdown period.

Asad Umar said that the difficulties would have increased if the government failed to take timely decisions. The decisions were hailed by all including Bill Gates, UN chief and FWO.

He said that Britain and some other countries are witnessing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases during its second wave which they did not record last year.

In view of an increase in the number of Covid cases in November last year, the federal government had decided to impose lockdown in coronavirus hotspot areas. At that time, a large number of COVID-19 patients were heading towards hospitals from the first week of December, whereas, those patients shifted to oxygen during the second of December last year.

Umar detailed that 313 patients had been put on ventilators in the second week of December, however, the cases were started decreasing by the end of December’s second week.

He appealed the nationals to keep following standard operating procedures (SOPs) against novel coronavirus as the arrival of vaccines will take some time. He said that Covid vaccines for frontline workers will soon arrive in Pakistan.

(This story has been published from Such TV feed, without modifications to the text)