ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) set a deadline of August 31 for public-facing sectors to have their employees vaccinated.

Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar told a news conference during a meeting at the NCOC that the government is aiming to increase immunizations to one million every day, which he claimed can only be achievable with the public’s help.

Dr. Faisal Sultan, the SAPM on Health, who was also present at the session, noted that critical care cases had risen to 3,000 from less than 2,000 in June.

As the infection incidence has risen, he added, the burden on health institutions around the country has increased significantly in recent days.

Students above the age of 18, instructors, transporters, government officials, hotel and wedding venue professionals, and law enforcement officers, according to the ministry, must get vaccinated by the end of the month.

“We selected banks, marketplaces, government offices, and schools as public-facing sectors, and vaccination has been made necessary for people working in these areas to prevent the virus from spreading,” the minister added.

Those who have not been vaccinated by August 1 would not be able to teach, according to Umar.

He cautioned the public that the situation is deteriorating and that if government-mandated safety measures are not followed, the situation would deteriorate further.

He claims that the application of SOPs is not as good as it was previously, based on NCOC data obtained during the 26-28 July timeframe.

“Islamabad has the greatest rate of compliance with health regulations, at about 56.4 percent. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is next at 46 percent, Punjab is 38 percent, and Sindh and Balochistan have the lowest [enforcement] at 33 percent,” he added.

Concerned about the situation in Karachi, where the positive ratio has surpassed 30%, Umar backed the Sindh government’s efforts to contain the spread and stated that the federal government will provide all assistance to the province.

He stated, “Sindh is taking proactive actions, which is the proper thing to do right now.”

According to media sources, a probable lockdown in Karachi is not the solution.

“We’ve learned over the last year that shutting down didn’t work before and won’t work again. So the only option is to vaccinate and adhere to SOPs.”