ISLAMABAD - Country’s testing capacity for COVID-19 has increased twice-fold after the launch of Test, Track and Quarantine strategy.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar stated this while chairing a meeting at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) here Thursday. The meeting was further apprised that at present around 631 smart lockdowns are in place across the country.

The meeting discussed the Epi Curve Chart, Decision Support System, TTQ update, update on task tracker and communication strategy along with standard operating procedures for Eid.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Umar said the electoral data is the most authentic one to be used for Decision Support System.

According to official data, at least 48,091 confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in the country with 2,193 cases during last 24 hours. Of these, 32,919 are active cases and 1,017 fatalities were recorded thus far. At least 32 new deaths were reported on Thursday.

Since May 9 onward, the country started easing the lockdown in place nationwide with various sectors and industries opening up in different provinces. Public transport and train service also resumed before Eid.

With 32 new deaths, at least 2,193 new cases recorded in 24 hours

According to National Command and Operation Centre, 17,382 cases so far detected in Punjab, 18,964 in Sindh, 6,815 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2,968 in Balochistan, 1,235 in Islamabad, 579 in Gilgit-Baltistan, and 148 in Azad Kashmir. At least 14,155 patients recovered from the virus while the death toll stands at 1,017 with 32 new deaths reported during the past twenty-four hours.

On the other hand, the ministry of National Health Services (NHS) put the private hospitals on standby to cope with the emergency situation in the federal capital. This action was taken as the number of novel coronavirus cases (COVID-19) crossed the mark of 1000 in the federal capital, an official told The Nation on Thursday.

According to the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) dashboard around one hundred more COVID-19 patients were confirmed in a single day and the tally in the city has reached 1235.  So far ten COVID-19 patients in the federal city have died while 151 have recovered.

Officials at ministry of NHS said the National Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Network (NHEPRN) of the ministry held a meeting to formulate the strategy to cope with the possible overflow of the patients. Officials said that around nine private hospitals of the city have been put on standby to admit the serious patients of COVID-19 and put them of ventilators if required.

Officials also said that two public sector hospitals including National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicines (NIRM), Federal General Hospital (FGS) and four private hospitals of the city have been designated to accommodate the patients with mild to moderate patients.

According to the NHEPRN minutes of the meeting available with The Nation a meeting was held on Tuesday 12th May 2020 in the office of NHEPRN under the chairmanship of Director General, NHEPRN.

The meeting was attended by officials of the ministry of NHS including member Islamabad Health care authority, Executive Director (ED) National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM), Principal Watim Hospital, CMS Riphah IIMCT, Principal Islamabad Medical Dental College (IMDC), Principal HBS college, Director Health, Shifa Hospital, deputy Director Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Director Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital, Rawal Dental Hospital, MS Watim Hospital, MS Margallah Hospital and representative Al-Nafees hospital.

The meeting minuets said that “when there will be overflow of the COVID-19 patients in the public hospitals, the high risk patients who need ventilator will be shifted to the following private hospitals”.

The hospitals include Ripha International Hospital, ISRA, IMDC and Shifa.

The documents said, it was also decided that the mild asymptomatic COVID-19 patients will be shifted to NIRM, FGH, HBS, RAWAL, Watim and Margallah hospitals.

The meeting further decided that Dr. Naveed Ahmed, Deputy Director, PIMS Hospital will be the focal person to coordinate with the private hospitals and will maintain ventilator position daily. The private hospitals will also nominate a focal person for coordination.

Meanwhile, the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) data said that the federal capital the total available ventilators are 233 with 16 occupied by COVID-19 patients and 90 in reserves for the pandemic disease patients. The city has 227 vacant ventilators and 07 percent have been utilized so far.

Designated Focal Person to coordinate with private hospitals Dr. Naveed Ahmed talking to The Nation said that a meeting was held in NHEPRN and it was decided that the serious patients who need to be on ventilators will be shifted to private hospital when the PIMS capacity is filled.

He said that the private hospitals will accommodate the serious patients but suspected patients will be admitted in the public sector hospitals as private sector have less number of beds.

Dr. Naveed said that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the case of emergency have been prepared and private hospitals have been also informed in this regard.

According to the NEOC report 1608 COVID-19 tests have been performed in the city in last 24 hours while total 29033 cases have been tested. The data said that the lab confirmed above 100 cases in last 24 hours while total number has reached 1235.