ISLAMABAD                        -                  Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) Dr Zafar Mirza on Monday confirmed 397 new coronavirus (COVID-19) in a day across the country saying that the decrease of cases in future depends upon the strict implementation on the preventive measures.

SAPM on NHS Dr Zafar Mirza stated this during his online press briefing. Responding to the clash of doctors and law enforcement personnel in Balochistan he condemned the incident adding that he expressed solidarity with the medical community.

“No negligence will be done in providing Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) to medical professionals including doctors, nurses and paramedics,” he said. Providing details of PPEs being provided to Baluchistan he said that an estimate of 1162 PPEs was prepared to be provided in the

province however, federal government provided 5600 equipment in number there.

He said that federal government distributed 500,000 N-95 masks amongst provinces however still there is shortage and government is arranging but their proper utilisation is also not being done in health facilities.

 

Dr Zafar Mirza said that only doctors and health professionals in isolation wards need N-95 but it has been observed that the PPEs are being misused. “This trend needs to be corrected,” he remarked.

Urging doctors and other health professionals to show responsibility in utilization of PPEs, he also said that National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) will announce proper guidelines for the use of PPEs and treatment of COVID-19 patients on Wednesday.

“A doctor in isolation ward needs N-95 mask, gown, gloves, goggles and shoes, but a health professional outside the isolation ward does not need N-95 mask,” he said. He said people in wards and patients isolated at homes can wear simple surgical masks.

SAPM on NHS also said that two committees have been formed for the recommendation of ventilators and diagnostic tests. He said that to address the concerns of availability of ventilators a committee of Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has been formed.

Mirza said that this committee will give its recommendations about safety and efficacy of all new ventilators being manufactured and imported before their marketing. Similarly, he said that another experts committee will give its recommendations on the diagnostic tests being done in the country.

Briefing on the latest updates of COVID-19 situation, Dr Zafar Mirza said that the total number of cases in country have reached 3277 with 397 cases in last 24 hours. He also said that 50 deaths in country have been reported including five in last 24 hours while 257 patients have recovered also.

Dr. Mirza also said that the fatality rate of COVID-19 in Pakistan is 1.53 percent comparatively low than world which is 5.45. while giving per region breakdown of the cases he said that 1439 cases have been confirmed in Punjab, 881 in Sindh, 405 in Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP), 210 Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), 191 in Baluchistan, 82 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and 16 in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK).

Earlier, the details released by NCOC said that the daily situation brief held here while federal minister for Planning, Development and Reforms chaired the session.  It said that the meeting was attended by federal minister for interior Brig (retired) Ijaz Ahmed Shah (Retired) other top heads of the ministries in federal, chief Secretaries of all provinces, AJ& K participated through video conference.

The meeting discussed the update on critical health care equipment needed for COVID-19 and deliberated that total available ventilators are 3844. It said that ICT has 47, Baluchistan 74, KP 400, Punjab 1697, Sindh 1550, AJK 63, GB 13 while efforts are at hand to procure additional ventilators along with indigenous production.

NCOC meeting reviews Coronavirus situation in country

The government Monday emphasised the need to ramp up its testing capacity to tackle the deadly coronavirus in the country at a time when exiting healthcare system is bearing influx of more COVID-19 patients.

The daily situation briefing to contain COVID-19 that was held at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reviewed the present situation of coronavirus patients in the country, on-going efforts of prevention and preparations for the future to fight against the disease.

According to a statement issued by the NCOC, it was decided that a target for the testing capacity enhancement will be fixed by today (Tuesday). The forum discussed that trained human resource should carry out testing, particularly extraction and logistics should be made available to collect and transport samples.

 Federal Minister for Planning & Development Asad Umar chaired the briefing that was attended by the federal ministers, prime minister’s advisors and senior bureaucrat of the federal and provincial governments. The chief secretaries of all provinces and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) participated through video conference.

According to the data shared by NCOC for the media, Pakistan at the moment is conducting 163 tests out of every one million as compared with India having 50 tests per million, US 4264, South Korea 8019, and Singapore 6724 per million. 

The forum was informed that there are total 20 laboratories across the country including one each in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and AJK, two each in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), five in Punjab, and seven in Sindh. The country has 6584 testing kits including ICT having 1500 (NIH, AFIP), Punjab 2064, Sindh 1900, Balochistan 380, KP 284, GB 276 and AJK has180. Meanwhile, 13 labs are in pipeline to be made functional to conduct coronavirus tests.

The meeting emphasized to make track and tracing mechanism to identify clusters for targeted testing and isolation. The chair directed that National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP), and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) networks to be integrated for community mobilization and for better outreach.

The meeting was informed that there are total 3844 ventilators available in the country for the coronavirus patients. Out of these, Punjab has 1697, Sindh 1550, KP 400, Balochistan 74, ICT 47, AJK 63, and GB has 13 ventilators. The participants were told that efforts were at hand to procure additional ventilators along with indigenous production.

The meeting underscored that government has earmarked Rs 50 billion as Special Ramazan Package for common people. The managing director Utility Stores Corporation briefed on available stock and measures to ensure uninterrupted supply as a result of enforcement measures in general and particularly during the holy month of Ramazan. The planning minister directed MD Utility Stores to evolve a mechanism to stop bulk purchase and over-buying by retailers to let the benefit reach to common people.

The chair instructed ministry of energy to ensure accelerating supply of fuel to various part of Balochistan particularly border areas, where fuel supply may have been affected due to closure of borders.

The Ministry of Industries was tasked that a detailed mechanism in consultation with provinces should be formed to keep essential industries (food, pharmaceuticals, and energy and industries supporting these three) running till 14th April, the deadline of the enforcement of partial lockdown, and post 15th April situation.  A uniformed policy will be presented by ministry today at NCOC for implementation across the country. The meeting decided that a detailed roadmap for flight operations post 11th April will be presented on 8th April at NCOC for final decision by National Coordination Committee.

Interior Minister Brig (retd) Ijaz Ahmed Shah, Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar, Advisor to PM for Commerce & Textile Industry Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, and SAPM on National Security Moeed Yusuf attended the briefing.