Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar said on Friday that the coronavirus cases in the country are expected to rise to 225,000 until the end of June, cautioning that the virus threat was still not over.

The federal minister was addressing media personnel, along with Information Minister Shibli Faraz where he said that as per an earlier estimate, 300,000 cases were expected nationwide till June 30. 

Umar said that when the number of COVID-19 cases surged, people started following preventive measures. “There were two weeks when the big hospitals in major cities faced pressure,” he said, cautioning that if the SOPs are not followed then the situation can deteriorate.

The government has increased its facilities with more beds and ventilators, which gives us hope for the coming days, said Umar, adding that on June 14, authorities disclosed the facts before the public, and presented the estimate for the end of the month.

The minister said that they took into consideration experts' opinions and implemented a smart lockdown in areas with higher number of COVID-19 cases. 

Paying tribute to healthcare workers and those on the frontlines fighting the pandemic, he said, "Doctors and paramedical staff are busy for our protection.

"It is our responsibility to help the front-line workers by playing our part. It is not a very difficult thing to do, we just need to have a sense of responsibility. If we do this, our health system would not be paralysed," he added. 

Collectively, it is in our hands to fight the virus while listening to health experts and their advice, he said.

The minister stated that the smart lockdown was implemented from mid-May and in 20 cities the pandemic seemed to be spreading at a rapid speed.

Asad Umar said that fortunately, things seemed to be in control at the moment.

“This has given us a lesson that we can control the situation if we want to by taking the required measures on time. I have given directions for data collection for the coming months of July and August and will take decisions according to it.”