ISLAMABAD                -            Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) Dr Zafar Mirza on Wednesday said that the number of suspected novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country is increasing with an average of 12 percent, which is the matter of concern.

While addressing an online media briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Zafar Mirza said that the number of suspected cases in the country has surged to 17,331 and 1436 new suspected cases were registered in the last 24 hours.

“The average number of cases from the day one has become 12 percent a day which is the matter of concern,” he said.

Dr. Zafar Mirza also said that the number of confirmed cases in the country has also increased to 2071 and 178 were reported in the last 24 hours. The number of cases in Punjab was 740, followed by Sindh 676, Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP) 253, Gilgit Baltistan 184, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) 54 and Azad Jammu & Kashmir has six confirmed cases.

Dr. Zafar Mirza also said that the ratio of positive cases amongst the suspected cases in quarantine centers has fallen. 8893 suspects have been in quarantine and only 19 percent of them are positive with the virus, which is a positive development. 82 patients who had tested positive virus have recovered and have been discharged, adding that 24 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.

Giving details about patients admitted in hospitals he said that 974 confirmed patients are admitted in different hospitals of the country and they are said to be critical.

While talking about safety measures we all need to adopt, Dr. Zafar Mirza stressed upon offices to suspend biometric attendance and exempt the staff from following the practice. “Complaints have been received that from some of the offices who were allowed to call essential staff, and are still complying with biometric attendance and this should be stopped,” he said.

Dr. Zafar Mirza also said that the 6th National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19 decided to continue and implement the restrictions for two more weeks with more efficient enforcement.

“It will help in decreasing the COVID-19 trend,” said Dr. Zafar Mirza.

He said that the restrictions include closure of all educational institutes, ban on mass gatherings, and implementation of social distancing and home quarantine on voluntary basis.  

Separately, in statement released by the ministry SAPM on NHS Dr. Zafar Mirza said that the Federal General Hospital (FGH) Chak Shahzad is being allocated for COVID-19 and 100 beds will be allocated for it. It also said bed capacity of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) will be increased to 80 for COVID-19 situation in next 15 days. He said that so far, the hospital has a capacity of 30 beds. He also said that federal Government Services (FGS0 Polyclinic Hospital and Capital Development Authority (CDA) hospital has the capacity of 12 beds each.

He also informed that the Federal General Hospital (FGH) Chak Shahzad is being allocated for COVID-9 and 100 beds capacity will be available there, adding that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is working on it. 

Dr. Zafar Mirza also said that Pak China Friendship Center has the capacity of quarantining 50 patients, OGDCL hostel 50, Redison Hotel 50, Hill View hotel 50 and Hajj complex has the capacity of managing 100 patients.

He also said that eight private hospitals will provide the facility of 240 isolation rooms and 80 ventilators and it will have the capacity of 1000 beds. The minister also said that private sector hospitals also offered the use of their ventilators in public sector hospitals.