The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday announced that the lockdown imposed by the Sindh government will be lifted from Monday (tomorrow). A statement was issued by the NCOC following a joint session chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, and attended by Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, Gen Hamood and other team members. “Special emphasis was laid on the implementation of SOPs/NPIs, especially in the wake of Muharram, and lifting of the lockdown from August 9 onwards. Smart lockdowns in high disease prevalence areas will also be enforced to curtail disease spread,” a press release issued by the forum said. During the session held in Karachi, it was also decided that non-pharmaceutical interventions issued by the NCOC for the top 13 cities with high disease prevalence, including Karachi and Hyderabad, will be enforced. “The disease situation in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, was discussed at length. The need for better coordination and enhanced interaction at all levels was emphasised,” the statement said. It was also decided that reopening of schools and conducting remaining exams will be discussed at the next Inter-Provincial Education Ministerial Conference. “The pandemic is raging in Azad Jammu and Kashmir with a ratio of Covid-19 positive cases soared to 26 percent,” the session was informed. “Test positivity rate in Sindh has been 13%. In Karachi, positivity rate has been 21 percent, which has dropped by 3% from the previous positivity ratio,” the session was briefed. However, the hike in coronavirus cases in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is slower, according to the briefing. The meeting was informed that 67% cases in Karachi are coming from Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Hyderabad. On Saturday, the national tally of total active Covid-19 cases was recorded at 79,837, the highest during fourth wave of pandemic as 4,720 more people tested positive for the deadly virus and 4,780 people recovered from the disease on Saturday. Ninety-five patients died on Saturday, 85 of whom were under treatment in hospitals and 10 in their respective quarantines or homes, according to the latest update issued by the NCOC. Most of the deaths occurred in Sindh followed by Punjab. Out of the total 95 deaths, 43 were under treatment on ventilators. There are 4,275 Covid-infected patients under treatment in critical condition, with 118 of them admitted on Saturday in various Covid-dedicated healthcare facilities of the country. The national positivity ratio on Saturday was recorded at 8.24%. The maximum ventilators were occupied in four major cities including Islamabad 43%, Bahawalpur 40%, Peshawar 32% and Multan 34%. The maximum oxygen beds (alternate oxygen providing facility other than ventilator administered as per medical requirement of Covid patient) was also occupied in four major cities of Hyderabad 71%, Abbottabad 54%, Karachi 63%, and Islamabad 38%. Around 424 ventilators were occupied elsewhere in the country while no Covid affected person on ventilator in Balochistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Some 57,233 tests were conducted across the country on Friday, including 18,223 in Sindh, 20,413 in Punjab, 10,173 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 4,342 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 2,062 in Balochistan, 732 in GB, and 1,288 in AJK. Around 959,491 people have recovered from the disease so far across Pakistan making it a significant count with over 90 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients. Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Saturday has called for vaccinating people in the age group above 50, saying that they are most vulnerable to Covid-19. Taking to Twitter, Asad Umar while sharing the details said that 21 percent of this group had received at least a single Covid jab, four weeks ago and the figures have now reached 33 per cent. “This age group is most vulnerable to serious health effects of COVID-19,” he said in his tweet, and urged to encourage people of age group above 50 to get themselves vaccinated against the deadly virus.