ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has conducted over 14,878 tests in the past 24 hours which is the highest number of assessments made to date to diagnose COVID-19 patients, said Planning Minister Asad Umar during a meeting of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) held here on Saturday.

Asad Umar expressed satisfaction over the enhancement of testing capacity that has witnessed a 30 times increase with a rise from 2 labs in mid-March to 70 labs till date. The Minister said people of Pakistan cannot be left on the mercy of pandemic and that the authorities will move every single resource available to mitigate the challenges of common people.

During an NCOC meeting headed by Minister for Planning Development Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, the provincial Chief Secretaries including of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), gave input on the implementation of health protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs) post 9 May, Eid prayer congregation, along with the implementation of SOPs devised for industries and markets.

Death toll reaches 834 as infections swell to 38,799

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Umar said the implementation of SOPs and social distancing was only possible through public education and awareness. The forum was of the view that markets associations and traders’ organisations must ensure compliance of SOPs issued by the Health Ministry. In case of non-compliance, the particular market as a whole would be closed for failing to ensure collective responsibility. He noted that Pakistan has been quick in enhancing its capacity and capability. He further said that there was no shortage of equipment in the country rather it was necessary to focus on managing trained human resource for handling the pandemic.

An epidemiologist and other health experts briefed the forum on the virus’ future behaviour for May and June. Risk and crisis management plans along with matching response of the healthcare system, including capacity number of ICU beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment was also discussed.

Minister for Industries Punjab, Mian Aslam Iqbal informed the forum that around 336 warning notices were issued to different markets and industries on the violation of SOPs whereas on repeated violation they would be sealed as per the decided mechanism.

 Minister for Interior Brig (retd) Ijaz Ahmed Shah suggested that the district administration should engage with the trader associations and local stakeholders for the implementation of SOPs.

 

 

Meanwhile, at least 14,201 cases have so far been detected in Punjab, 14,916 in Sindh, 5,678 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2,457 in Balochistan, 518 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 921 in Islamabad and 108 in Azad Kashmir. A total of 10,880 patients have so far recovered from the virus whilst the death toll stands at 834.

 

Also, coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than three hundred eight thousand lives across the world so far, with over 4.64 million confirmed cases. The United States is on top of the list with over 88 thousand deaths followed by the Britain over 33 thousand and Italy with over 31 thousand deaths. Similarly, more than one point seven million people have recovered from the infection.