ISLAMABAD               -        Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) Dr  Zafar Mirza, while confirming more than 4,000 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across the country, said that non-implementation of preventive measures would be a mistake.

Dr Mirza made these remarks while addressing an online media talk on COVID-19 situation in the country.

He also informed the media that 152 hospitals across the country have been provided one-week’s supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

“Despite having low number of cases compared to the rest of the world and low estimates compared to prediction models we need to be more careful,” he stressed.

 Violation of social distancing and relaxation in preventive measures would be a mistake.  He added “we need to be more responsible otherwise infection numbers will surge immensely”.

Dr. Mirza said that a list of 400 hospitals was prepared and 152 have been catered to initially, adding that the equipment includes N-95 masks, gloves, gowns and goggles. “A carton for each health professional has been dispatched,” he said.

Providing region wise details of PPEs provision, he said that four hospitals have been facilitated in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), 74 in Punjab, 42 in Sindh, 21 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 7 in Islamabad and 4 in Baluchistan. Dr. Zafar Mirza also said that the government will maintain a central database of the PPEs being provided to hospitals and replenish them after they have been utilised. 

“One week’s supply has been provided but health professionals must utilize it rationally,” he said.

Briefing about the COVID-19 situation in country he said that 4322 cases have been confirmed so far and in the last 24 hours 248 more cases were added. He said 44896 tests have been performed in 20 designated labs in the country. 

SAPM on NHS also said that 572 patients have recovered so far and 105 recovered in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 cases has reached 63 and five people died in the last 24 hours.

He also informed that 2 people died in KP, 1 in Punjab and 2 in Sindh in the last 24 hours. He said that out of the 63 deceased in the country 78 percent patients were male and 85 % of them were above the age of 50. He also said that in the given number of patients who had died 73 percent were those who were already suffering with other ailments and had a weak immune system.

SAPM on NHS also said that the expert committee of DRAP will evaluate the locally manufactured ventilators. He said that applications can be filed to DRAP by any individual, company or university and DRAP committee will evaluate and facilitate for local manufacturing.

Mirza said that it has been observed by the government that the PPEs were being misused by the health professionals and it is one of the causes behind unavailability of adequate equipment.

He stressed only health professionals, who had direct contact with patients need full PPE kits. He said that the government has prepared and issued guidelines for the use of PPEs for health professionals which are being displayed in hospitals and uploaded on websites to avoid misuse of the PPEs.