Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Thursday announced to close down the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) operations amid all time low COVID-19 indicators and high level of vaccination. Addressing a press conference here along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan, Asad Umar said that keeping in view the lowest level of the pandemic expansion and the highest level of vaccination across the country, the government had decided to close down the Center passing on the baton to the health ministry. The minister who also has been the Chairman of the NCOC, said “Today is the last day of NCOC as we have now learned to live along with the pandemic.” He said chairing NCOC during last 2 years and working with the most dedicated team had been the greatest privilege and honour of his life. The minister said the way the government had managed the pandemic was highly praised from the world famous personalities and the institutions. It makes me immensely proud as a Pakistani that the country received praise for its Covid response as one of the most successful in the world from global agencies and personalities”, he said adding “With Allah’s mercy and support of the entire nation, we have been able to overcome this unprecedented challenge”. He specifically thanked the nation for cooperating with the government by acting upon the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the government to control the pandemic and successfully overcoming this challenge. He also thanked all the stakeholders involved in this whole operation including the federal and provincial health departments, Pakistan Army, the NDMA team for providing logistics to the hospitals, the civil bureaucracy, Judiciary, and the business community. He said almost all the ministries and all the provincial governments were involved in the operation who worked together to successfully manage the challenge. He especially mentioned the name of DG operations Major General Asif Goraya terming as a national hero who played major role at NCOC. Dr Faisal Sultan and his team, he said also played major role to control the pandemic. Besides he said the front line health workers were also the real heroes who put their lives at threat to save the people from the pandemic. Above all, the minister said, the real character and the mastermind of the success story was Prime Minister Imran Khan who from day one directed to keep balance between the lives and the livelihoods and this smart approach helped saving the people from dying of the pandemic as well as of hunger. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday lauded the team of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for its nationally-coordinated response during the pandemic after the body was closed over decline in positivity of COVID-19 cases. “Today, as NCOC closes down, I want to congratulate the NCOC team and it’s leadership for a professional, nationally-coordinated response to the pandemic,” he said in a tweet. The prime minister mentioned that the efforts of NCOC acclaimed global recognition of the country as a success case during the pandemic. “As a result, the COVID-19 response was recognised by international agencies and people in the field as one of the most successful globally,” he said.