ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reconstituted its central pandemic response body, established after the country reported its first COVID-19 case over two years ago, an official statement released by the Prime Minister Office in Islamabad said on Monday.
The decision to reactivate the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) was taken by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier this month after Pakistan detected a new omicron sub-variant earlier this month in a passenger arriving from Qatar.
The new sub-variant of omicron is said to be highly infectious, though not as deadly as previous coronavirus strains.
The NCOC was shut down last March amid a steady decline in COVID-19 cases in Pakistan.
"Under the directions form the Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the National Command and Operational Center (NCOC) has been reconstituted at National Institutes of Health, Islamabad Pakistan," the notification said.
It said all concerned ministries and directorates would remain engaged in NCOC operations and functions as per the requirement.
The body will be chaired by the federal minister for national health services, the notification informed.
"NCOC will extend its operations for prevention, detection, surveillance, and response to public health emergencies at national level as well as facilitate coordination with all provinces and regions," the statement said.