ISLAMABAD - The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday said that at least 148 more people died while battling COVID-19 during the last 24 hours.

According to NCOC, at least 4,044 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the country during the last 24 hours, taking the total tally to 192,970. These include 71191 in Punjab, 74070 in Sindh, 23887 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 9817 in Balochistan, 11710 in Islamabad, 1365 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 930 in Azad Kashmir.   Also, the death toll from the virus stands at 3903 with 148 deaths reported over the last twenty-four hours. At least 21,835 corona tests were carried out during this period. So far, 81,307 patients have recovered from the disease.

On Thursday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) said Pakistan was implementing smart lockdown because 25 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and it will face hardships.

This was stated by SAPM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza in a meeting held through video link with Regional Director of the World Health Organization Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari along with his team of senior officials of WHO Regional Headquarters in Cairo. The statement released by the ministry of NHS said that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss Pakistan’s COVID-19 response and explore areas where WHO could provide technical guidance and support to the country.

Dr Zafar Mirza was accompanied by Dr. Rana Muhammed Safdar, Head of the National Emergency Operation Centre. Speaking about political commitment in Pakistan to fighting the disease, Dr. Mirza said this was the highest level of uninterrupted political attention to a health-care issue. Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs the National Coordination Committee with all Provincial Chief Ministers as members, he said. 

In March, the National Command and Operation Centre had been established with top leadership discussing each aspect of the response thread-bare every day.

 

Pakistan was implementing smart lockdowns rather than a generalized lockdown as the Prime Minister was cognizant of the financial hardship for around 25 percent of the population living below poverty line.

 

Currently 543 lockdowns are in place across Pakistan shared Dr. Zafar Mirza. 35 SOPs have been developed and the public is being educated through a strong risk communication initiative.

Strict action is being taken against those who do not adhere to the SOPs, he shared. We have ramped out our health system to cater to critical cases and done so with unprecedented speed, added Dr. Mirza while talking to the Regional Director WHO. We are ensuring better governance and strong coordination to implement our National Action Plan against COVID-19 in letter and spirit.

 

Dr. Zafar Mirza called for Global Regime for Air Travel in the context of COVID-19 to allow for uniform policy across the world laying out specific requirements and conditions for international travel.  He made special mention of the guidelines being developed for upcoming Eid-ul-Azha by the government and sought WHO Regional Chief’s guidance and support in this regard. Earlier, Head of the National Emergency Operations Centre made a detailed presentation on Pakistan’ National Action Plan on COVID-19.

 

Regional Director WHO Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari appreciated the effort being made by Pakistan the largest country in WHO EMRO region, in fighting COVID-19. He expressed all out support of his organization for the Government of Pakistan in this regard.