| Imran Khan believes positive trend is result of smart lockdown policy

| Data shows fast recoveries as 183,737 patients recovered from disease so far

ISLAMABAD          -      Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that Pakistan is amongst the fortunate countries where COVID-19 cases in hospitals especially in intensive care and the death rate have gone down; unlike in our unfortunate neighbour India.

In a tweet, he said this positive trend has been the result of our smart lockdown policy and the nation observing government’s SOPs. “This positive trend has been the result of our smart lockdown policy and the nation observing government’s SOPs,” he said, urging the nation to continue observing SOPs for being essential to sustain the positive trend.

The Prime Minister extended his congratulation to the people for witnessing a reduction in COVID-19 hospitalisations while taking a jibe at neighbouring India, which crossed the one million mark today, joining the ranks of US and Brazil.

Also, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed authorities to take all administrative measures in order to strictly implement standard operating procedure on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha to prevent spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister urged the nation to continue observing SOPs to sustain this positive trend. He said Eid-ul-Azha must be celebrated with simplicity so as not to repeat what happened on last Eid when SOPs were ignored and our hospitals choked. The Prime Minister ordered strict implementation of government’s SOPs. “I am ordering strict implementation of government SOPs,” he added. Earlier this month, the prime minister had made a similar appeal to the nation after inaugurating the Isolation Hospital and Infectious Treatment Centre (IHITC) in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, At least 2,085 new coronavirus cases were reported in the country during the last 24 hours on Friday, taking the tally to 259,999. According to the official figures, the number of recoveries from COVID-19 continues to increase across the country with 183,737 patients so far recovered from the disease.

According to the latest statistics, 2,085 new coronavirus cases were reported in the country during the last 24 hours taking the tally to 259,999. These include 110,068 in Sindh, 89,023 in Punjab, 31,486 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 11,385 in Balochistan, 14,454 in Islamabad, 1,775 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 1808 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile, the officials said that 49 patients died of the virus during the last 24 hours taking the death toll to 5,475.

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Monsoon Tree Plantation campaign in Kahuta on Friday.

“We should not only plant trees but also save them,” Prime Minister said while speaking at a ceremony after inaugurating Monsoon Tree Plantation Campaign 2020,

The Prime Minister said that the government had launched Ten Billion Tree Tsunami campaign under which the government had grown 30 million trees in just two years after coming to power. PM Khan regretted that the forest cover in Pakistan had rapidly depleted over the years. He pointed that the number of trees in the country at the time of its partition from the Indian sub-continent had decreased to an alarming level. Imran Khan said it is unfortunate that previous governments did not focus on preventing deforestation, which resulted into an increased level of pollution in Lahore and other cities of the country, which adversely affected health of the people.

Imran Khan mentioned the alarming levels of pollution in Lahore stating that the lack of trees was a serious threat to human health and said it would be addressed by his government on priority. In this regard, Imran Khan mentioned the recent declaration of nine new national parks in the country and said, the country had 30 such reserved areas since it gained independence in 1947.

He said the number of such exclusive zones, where the plants and trees could grow and wild life flourish, would be further enhanced in the days to come. The premier said his government had launched an ambitious project to plant 10 billion trees across the country.

The Prime Minister said that he had directed all chief secretaries of the provinces to prepare master plan of all the cities of Pakistan so that we can prevent unplanned expansion of urban areas to protect agricultural land. He said green areas will be demarcated around cities and urban population will not be allowed to expand beyond certain limits.

He added that one billion trees will be planted by next year while the government has planted 300 million trees in just two years.

The Prime Minister that the previous governments did not take necessary measures to save forests that led to the destruction of the green cover in the country. He said, “We will provide information to students in schools about tree plantation.” He said in the past two years, his government had planted 30 million trees, while new nurseries were working at top speed to increase this number to one billion by June next year.

“I am sure our government will be able to meet this ambitious target of one billion trees in its five-year term,” Imran Khan said.

He said Pakistan was blessed to have 12 diverse ecological zones and it was a national obligation to preserve and protect the natural systems and its flora and fauna.

“A Green Pakistan is my dream,” Imran Khan said as a large number of school children and their teachers, who were sitting all along the hillside cheered. He said the government will be able to plant one billion trees by June next year and be very close to our target at the end of our five-year term.

Imran Khan said that three hundred “Nigehbans” were appointed to protect trees in these parks and this number will be enhanced to 30 thousand in future. He said the prime responsibility of these “Nigehbans” will be to protect trees from fire, animals and timber mafia.

The Prime Minister said it has also been decided to reserve two hours in a week to create awareness among schoolchildren about importance of trees. He said 300 wardens had been appointed for the protection of trees in this area alone and said this number would be raised to 3000 in the days to come.

The Prime Minister said every school would allocate two hours every week to create awareness amongst the children about the importance of clean and green Pakistan.

He appealed to the people to plant a tree, but it is all the more important to protect this seedling so that it grows into a healthy tree, and it has to be saved from not only wild animals, but also the mafia that deals in timber. He said it was part of the faith of every Muslim to ensure cleanliness, but regretted that the situation was not so encouraging as compared to the West. He said it was vital that the nation worked in unison to make the country clean and green.

Regarding coronavirus pandemic, Imran said that the disease proved destructive in many parts of the world claiming millions of lives. However, he mentioned Covid-19 did not affect Pakistan as badly as it did in other states. He pointed out that people should continue to follow standard operating procedures (SOPS) during Eid ul Azha or else the country will have another spike in the coronavirus cases as seen in Eid ul Fitr.

The prime minister said that the decrease in coronavirus cases in Pakistan is due to the result of the government’s smart lockdown policy and the people observing SOPS. Earlier, the Prime Minister launched the drive by planting a sapling. Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul and Advisor Malik Amin Aslam were also present.