The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has identified 92 Covid-19 hotspots in 20 cities across the country, which cover some 40% of all the active cases nationwide, Planning Minister Asad Umar said on Sunday.
The minister, who heads the NCOC – the nerve centre of the country’s unified efforts against the spread of the deadly contagion, said in a tweet that an effective smart lockdown in these hotspots could make a decisive difference.
“NCOC has identified 92 hotspots in 20 cities, which cover 40% of all active cases & effect only 3% of Pak population. We can have substantial impact on disease spread while minimizing disruption in livelihood of citizens. Effective hotspot lockdown can make a decisive difference,” Umar tweeted.
The minister’s tweet came as the NCOC reported 4,951 new coronavirus cases and 119 deaths in the country over the last 24 hours, taking the total tally of cases to 176,617 cases and the death toll from the disease to 3,501 on Saturday morning. However, as the day progressed, the tally rose further.
The NCOC said that the number of cases rose to 67,353 in Sindh, 65,739 in Punjab, 21,444 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 9,328 Balochistan, 10,662 Islamabad, 1,278 Gilgit-Baltistan and 813 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The death toll from the virus stood at 3,501 with 119 deaths reported over the last 24 hours, the NCOC said, adding that a total of 28,855 coronavirus tests were carried out during this period, while 67,892 patients had so far recovered from the disease.
Protect the elderly
Addressing a press conference later in the day, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza reiterated the importance of taking precautionary measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
"We have to fight against this disease on an individual level, family level and community level," he said, listing down things that everyone should do — such as wearing masks, washing hands and practising social distancing — to slow down the spread of Covid-19.
Mirza stressed the need for protecting the elderly people. As of now, he said, 72% of Covid-19 deaths in the country were of people over the age of 50, he said, adding that senior citizens should avoid public transport and crowded spaces.
Calling on everyone to wear masks in public, Mirza reminded the masses that the government had made it mandatory to prevent the spread of the disease. "It doesn't have to be a surgical mask, the point is to cover the face to prevent infection," he said.
He stressed the need for maintaining physical distance of at least 6 feet from each other while in public, frequently washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. He added that sanitiser could also be used but soap and water were more effective.
"If an elderly one is already suffering from a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease or cancer, it's our job to protect them," he said. "The elderly should definitely wear masks, wash hands and stay physically away from people," he added.
He said that living rooms of the elderly persons should be disinfected often. "If they [the elderly and vulnerable] develop symptoms — fever, sore threat or cough — they should be isolated and a doctor should be contacted immediately," Mirza said.