PTI govt’s clarion call for public discipline
Asad Umar urges people to show responsibility as virus spreads
ISLAMABAD: Planning Minister Asad Umar has urged the nation to follow the Covid-19 guidelines and practice discipline so that the increasing number of the virus cases could be restricted as nationwide death toll from the contagion neared 2,000 while over 4,000 new cases emerged.
"The most successful and powerful strategy is that all people should bring changes in their lives in order to defeat this pandemic," the planning minister said while addressing the media after chairing a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
The minister said that the people who were not following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) were not only endangering their own life but they were also threatening the lives of others.
Umar specifically urged the trade and industries leadership to play their role in acting upon the guidelines agreed by them.
Umar said slowing the pace of the spread of coronavirus was still the utmost priority of the government and it was acting upon the smart lockdown strategy.
"The basic strategy has not been changed that is to limit the pace of spread of the disease to that extent that our health system should not be choked."
The minister informed that administrative actions were being taken against those who were violating the SOPs.
At present, he said 884 places across the country were sealed due to coronavirus cases in particular areas and almost 200,000 people were affected by such lockdowns. However, he said troubling 200,000 people at the cost of saving 210 million people was a reasonable step.
Umar said the disease was not as fatal in Pakistan as it was in the Western countries.
In Pakistan, he said, only nine people out of one million population had died of Covid-19 whereas in United Kingdom (UK), 600 corona patients died out of one million population.
However, he said the life of every person was very important and all 1,935 people who died so far were definitely dear ones of their family members and nothing could replace them.
On 100 days of coronavirus in the country, Umar said on February 26, only eight laboratories were working and 472 tests were taken on that day.
Today, he said, over 100 labs were working across the country and around 22,000 tests were being taken daily. But the testing capacity was even more as the country had a testing capacity of 35,000 in a day.
He said the number of ventilators had also been increased and National Disaster Management Authority had also kept ventilators in reserve which were being provided to the hospitals on demand.
The number of masks and protection kits also increased and “today the country is not only meeting local demand but is also exporting to other countries”.
He said direct helpline was also being established to receive complaints about the corona-related issues.
Further, he informed that a mobile application was being launched to provide people information about availability of healthcare facilities in different hospitals across the country.
He specifically asked doctors and other healthcare staff to download this app so that they could provide information to common people.
He said in order to mitigate sufferings of those affected by lockdown, the government announced Rs1,200 billion stimulus relief package besides corona relief fund and other several packages by State Bank of Pakistan.
The minister specifically thanked workers and doctors of the healthcare system who were playing an active role on the frontline.
He said the police was the second most important sector after healthcare who worked hard to enforce SOPs during the lockdown.
Umar also thanked the Ministry of Information and Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) who were timely conveying the message of the government regarding coronavirus to the people.
He said the NCOC team was working day and night since March 27 without any break and their dedication and spirit was commendable.
One the occasion, National Information Technology Board Chief Executive Officer Shabahat Shah said that the Pak Nigehban Emergency Response mobile application would be functional from today for hospitals while it would be functional for common people in a couple of days.
More ventilators sent to provinces
The NCOC said 250 additional ventilators were issued over the past week to meet the requirements of the growing number of patients in critical care across the country.
The NCOC said in a statement that a total of 72 new ventilators were issued to Faisalabad, Multan Rawalpindi and Lahore districts of Punjab, 52 to Karachi and Sukkur in Sindh, another 52 to Peshawar and Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 20 to Quetta in Balochistan.
The statement said that 10 new ventilators had also been issued to various hospitals of Gilgit-Baltistan, and another 10 to Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). In the federal capital, the statement added that 24 ventilators had been issued to PIMS, 10 for the Polyclinic.
The NCOC said the total number of hospitals with coronavirus management facilities across the country was 747, where 22,589 beds, including 5,060 beds with oxygen facility, were available for Covid-19 patients. The total number of ventilators for the Covid patients is 1,400.
The National Disaster and Management Authority (NDMA) separately released the details of ventilators it had given to four provinces, Islamabad, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. A spokesperson said the authority has so far provided 286 ventilators of different types to the provinces.
The spokesperson said 72 ventilators were provided to Punjab, including 36 ICU ventilators and 36 BiPAP ventilators, Sindh had been given 74 ventilators – 26 ICU and 48 BiPAP; 52 to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – 26 ICU and 26 BiPAP and 25 to Balochistan – 10 ICU and 15 BiPAP. Ten BiPAP ventilators were also provided to Azad Kashmir, the spokesperson added.
In Sindh, after the 52 more ventilators provided by the NCOC, to total number of ventilators rose to 461. In Karachi, 136 ventilators had been allocated to coronavirus patients, out of which 62 ventilators are being treated, the health officials said.
The nationwide tally of Covid-19 patients stood at 96,519 with 35,308 cases in Punjab, 36,364 in Sindh, 13,001 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 6,221 in Balochistan, 927 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 4,323 in Islamabad and 375 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 1,974 lives while about 32,581 coronavirus patients have recovered.