ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan was on Thursday briefed on the steps taken so far regarding curtailing the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

The briefing was given to him during his visit to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) here. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was present at the occasion.

Apart from the federal ministers, Prime Minister AJK, Chief Minister Punjab, Chief Minister Sindh, Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Chief Minister Balochistan and Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan attended the meeting via video link.

According to officials, the Prime Minister was briefed by Federal Minister Asad Umar and Major General Asif Mehmood Goraya, DG  Operations & Planning NCOC, on the analysis of patterns of COVID-19 spread, pressure on hospitals, fatalities, and future Projections. The PM was also briefed on the steps taken so far regarding curtailing the spread of COVID-19 across the country, enforcement of SOPs, and strategy regarding the management of disease and implementation of decisions in coordination with all the stakeholders.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the officials that allout efforts must remain focused on controlling the disease spread.

He directed to ensure availability of medicines, oxygen and beds in the hospitals. He urged complete unity amongst entire nation to fight this unusual and ominous challenge.

The Prime Minister directed all Pakistanis to protect the elderly and sick especially those suffering from heart-related diseases and diabetes.

The Prime Minister, while lauding the role of NCOC, said that Pakistan has navigated COVID-19 in a balanced manner. However, he cautioned everyone for utmost care. “We need a unified and well-coordinated joint national response to fight the disease during the next couple of months; our actions will determine the extent of the crisis and success of our response through consensus,” stated the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Imran Khan while paying tributes to the sacrifices of healthcare workers said that they are doing us proud at this critical juncture and the entire nation recognises their contribution. The Prime Minister said that media has performed responsibly, any tendency to sensationalise must be self checked by them.

The participants were especially apprised of the gaps identified and measures being taken for improvement in the healthcare system of the country to cope with the challenge, capacity building of the healthcare professionals, increased availability of beds for the patients, uninterrupted availability of crucial medicines, and sufficient supplies of oxygen.

The participants unanimously resolved to continue the strategy of balance between life and livelihood being pursued. It was reiterated that while businesses must remain open, strict implementation of SOPs will be ensured through awareness and administrative actions. Smart lock downs in hotspots identified through use of technology recently deployed and developed by NCOC will be ensured.

The forum was also briefed on the use of digital technology for contact tracing and disease projection.

It was informed that during the last four days, there is a decline in the number of cases tested positive.

The Chief Ministers of all the provinces and Prime Minister AJK briefed the forum about the steps being taken in their respective areas and unanimously acknowledged the support provided by the federal government in all respects, according to the officials.