PM Shehbaz Sharif has decided to re-establish the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) to handle the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response with immediate effect.
The news comes just one day after Pakistan announced its first BA.2.12.1 Omicron variant case. This relatively recent Omicron subvariant is the most altered strain yet, and it is rapidly spreading around the globe, including in the United States.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan said in March that the NCOC will close on March 31 and the responsibility for supervising the country’s pandemic response would be handed over to the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan established the NCOC in April 2020 to oversee the national COVID-19 response strategies and implementation.
Pakistan has consistently placed among the top countries with the most effective response against Coronavirus thanks to NCOC. Many international institutions, like the IMF and the Lowy Institute, have named Pakistan as one of the best COVID-19 responders.
NCOC is responsible for not just containing the Coronavirus, but also for the country’s COVID-19 immunization policy. More than 100 million of the country’s total vaccine-eligible population have been inoculated against the Coronavirus since the countrywide immunization campaign began in February 2021.