Pakistan disbands COVID-19 response body as infections at lowest

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A woman wears a mask to prevent contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as she carries a bag of supplies on her head in Karachi, Pakistan, January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

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KARACHI, Pakistan, March 31 (Reuters) - Pakistan has disbanded the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), which was overseeing the COVID-19 response in the country, as the infection’s numbers were at the lowest since the start of the outbreak early in 2020,the prime minister said on Thursday.

The South Asian country reported 244 positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with a 0.82% positivity rate.

“Today, as (NCOC) closes down, I want to congratulate the NCOC team and its leadership for a professional, nationally coordinated response to the pandemic,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a post on Twitter.

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"Our COVID response was recognized by international agencies and people in the field as one of the most successful globally," Khan added.

The country had on March 16 lifted most restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. Pakistan has faced four infections waves in the last two years, which were effectively managed by the NCOC.

“With Covid indicators at all-time lows and high levels of vaccination, (the) baton (is) now being passed on to the health ministry,” Asad Umar Pakistan Planning Minister said in a tweet on Thursday.

Pakistan has administered COVID-19 vaccines to 75% of the eligible population aged 12 and above, Dr Faisal Sultan, advisor to Prime Minister on health said in a tweet.

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Writing by Syed Raza Hassan Editing by Bernadette Baum

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