ISLAMABAD - The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday identified 20 cities in the country with potential COVID-19 hotspots while using ‘testing, tracing and quarantining (TTQ)’ strategy.

In line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement of containment of COVID-19 through smart lockdown strategy, NCOC undertook a comprehensive review of potential COVID-19 clusters and hotspots across Pakistan, said a statement issued by the centre.

It said that a total of 20 cities have been identified that are at risk of likely increase in infection or where ratio of spread of disease is on the rise and need restrictive measures for containment of COVID -19. This information is being shared with provinces, it added.

Those cities identified by the NCOC for the enforcement of “necessary restrictive measures” include four provincial capitals and the federal capital besides other major cities of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

They are Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranawala, Swat, Hyderabad, Sukkar, Sialkot, Gujrat, Ghotki, Larakana, Khairpur, DG Khan, Malakand, and Mardan.

NCOC said that the new hotspots in Islamabad which are being monitored and might be sealed include Sectors I-8, I-10, G6, and G7, and Ghauri Town, and Bharakhau.

97 more deaths in a day

TTQ is aimed at identifying disease spread, focused clusters/hotspots to enable targeted lockdowns and need-driven resource optimization at all levels. The TTQ strategy has been formulated to keep the spread of the disease in check while different sectors open up, the NCOC said.

The TTQ strategy involves ramping up of testing, rapidly tracing the contacts of confirmed positive cases, and effective quarantining of positive and suspected cases. The statement said that a meeting briefed NCOC in detail about operationalization of additional oxygenated beds and ventilators including procurement of this critical healthcare equipment by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as announced by PM.

The meeting was informed that a total of 2150 additional oxygenated beds will be functional by end of July to meet additional requirement. As many 1000 oxygenated beds will be functional by end of June and another 1150 oxygenated beds by end of July. Meanwhile, the tally of the country’s total Covid-19 confirmed cases reached 144, 476 by Monday with total 2,729 deaths, says the official data. The two provinces have crossed the mark of 50,000 cases with 54, 138 cases in Punjab and 53,805 cases in Sindh. The cases of infection in Islamabad are on the rise where 8,569 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been identified. The death toll from the virus stands at 2,729 with 97 deaths reported over the last twenty four hours. Some, 29,085 corona tests were carried out during this period and at least 53,721 patients have so far recovered from the disease.