ISLAMABAD                  -                  British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turn­er Hugely yesterday said he was impressed with Pakistan’s National Emergency Operations Cen­tre putting world class data, surveillance and epi­demiology at the heart of COVID19 response.

The envoy visited the COVID-19 National Emer­gency Operations Centre in Islamabad to see at first-hand how Pakistan was responding to the crisis.

The centre is the key surveillance and data management centre for the global pandemic in Pakistan, providing data on how the virus is af­fecting the country and so strengthening the fight against the disease.

The High Commissioner was accompanied by the head of the UK’s Department for Internation­al Development office in Pakistan Annabel Gerry.

They were received by the Director of the NEOC, Dr Rana Safdar, who briefed them on how COV­ID19 Surveillance is working throughout Paki­stan. The centre and surveillance networks have been supported by UK Aid through the Global Po­lio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), to monitor polio in Pakistan, before being used for COVID-19 re­sponse.

Dr Christian Turner said: “I’m proud that the UK supports this centre, which was set up to help fight polio. Now it has repurposed to become the biggest data centre in the country for all COV­ID-19-related information, as Pakistan responds to this global pandemic.”

He added: “The dedicated people behind this centre underline the best of UK-Pakistan friend­ship and shared problem-solving, even in these most challenging of times.”

The data collated at the centre is published dai­ly on the COVID-19 dashboard by the Govern­ment of Pakistan.

The centre was originally the National Emer­gency Operations Centre for surveillance of polio cases, but is now also being used to track cases and collate data on COVID-19 in Pakistan.