Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umer Friday said the Covid-19 cases have decreased across country owing to effective measures taken by the government and following of guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) by majority of the people.
Briefing media at National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), he warned the situation can aggravate in case of any slackness in observance of precautionary measures. According to projections of analysts, the coronavirus infections could have been 300,000 by June 30, however the latest analysis says the positive cases will be around 225,000 by month end due to effective implementation of the SOPs, he said, adding that the pandemic could further reduce if people strictly adhere to the SOPs.
“The reduction in the projected figures “proves that if we all do the right thing and everyone performs their duty on an individual level while the government does its job on a communal level, a significant success in curbing the spread can be seen,” he said. Detailing the reasons behind the reduction in figures, he said, “Most people realised their responsibility. Not everyone realised [their responsibility] and as a result, the government had to take some administrative measures. As a result, we are now looking at 225,000 cases instead of 300,000 – which we initially feared,” he added.
He, however, cautioned that the reduction in projected figures does not mean the danger has passed. “It is a reminder that if we take the right measures, God will protect us and if we don’t, situation can worsen.”
He said that the NCOC is in touch with the modellers and in a week, the government will inform the nation about what the situation would be by the end of July if the current measures stay in place. “This has given us a lesson that we can control the situation if we want to, by taking the requisite measures on time. I have given directions for data to be collected for the coming months of July and August and will take decisions according to the information that turns up.”
He also explained some measures taken by the NCOC to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The NCOC had issued guidelines on May 30 making obligatory for people to wear facemask, wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, maintain social distance and use hand sanitizers. The NCOC had also directed the provinces on June 4 to expedite administrative actions to check the spread of the virus. The NCOC had pointed out 20 hotspot areas in various cities of the country on June 14 with the direction to seal the troubled areas to contain the spread of coronavirus. He emphasised that people should religiously follow doctors’ directions and the SOPs to help contain Covid-19 spread. “If we continue to take these measures, our businesses will keep running and life will not come to a halt,” he said.
The minister said the health system is working satisfactorily despite pressure. He that pressure on big hospitals in major cities was high for two weeks earlier. The current scenario, however, does not seem to be getting to a position “where our health system would collapse.” He said over 1,000 beds will be provided to across country hospitals by June end and another 2,000 beds by July end to help further strengthen the health system.
Paying tributes to healthcare workers, he said doctors and paramedics are taking all possible measures to fight Covid-19. “People should also take precautionary measures to keep the disease in check. This would save health system from over burdening. The whole nation salutes healthcare workers for effectively fighting the pandemic,” he added.
The NCOC Friday said that some 523 localities having population of 9,614,535 are currently under smart lockdowns in four provinces including Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). According to latest figures, the track, trace and quarantine (TTQ) strategy is being strictly adhered to under the smart lockdowns. In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), 32 lockdowns have been enforced. The population of some 1,611,211 has been affected in AJK due to the lockdown. Likewise, a population of 170,000 has been affected in 14 lockdowns in ICT. In Gilgit-Baltistan, 21 localities having population of 153,696 have been under lockdown. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the movement of 780,313 people has been restricted in 257 lockdowns. Similarly, a total of 1,948,315 people are under 131 lockdowns in Punjab. In Sindh, some 68 localities having population of 4,951,000 are currently under smart lockdown.