The National Security Committee (NSC) on Friday set up a National Coordination Committee to effectively curb the spread of coronavirus by evaluating the situation on day to day basis.

The other wide-ranging decisions taken by the NSC included closure of educational institutions for three weeks, ban on public gatherings, and complete shutdown of the Western border with Iran and Afghanistan for two weeks along with all airports except Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi for international travel.

However, seaports would remain operational with increased screening arrangements and surveillance so that the trade activities could not be affected.

The NSC, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, had a thorough discussion on evolving situation in the wake of new coronavirus cases in the country, taking the tally of confirmed ones to 28 and resolved to ensure public safety and well-being, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza told the media.

Flanked by SAPMs Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Moaeed Yousaf, Dr Zafar Mirza quoted the prime minister as saying, “The safety of people is our top most priority.”

He said the National Coordination Committee would comprise federal ministers concerned, chief ministers, NDMA Chairman, Surgeon General of Pakistan, representatives of Inter-Services Intelligence, Inter Services Public Relations and Directorate of Military Operations, while he would be its convener.

The committee would be authorized to include any other stakeholder, if needed, the SAPM said, adding it would hold its maiden meeting on Saturday at 4: 30 pm.

Dr Zafar said the evolving situation demanded to form such a high-level body so that the pandemic could be curbed through coordinated efforts after taking unanimous decisions at the national level.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) would be the lead operational agency with the required funds at its disposal, he added.

by App