ISLAMABAD           -     Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar Friday said taking precautionary measures is the only way to contain COVID-19 spread. He warned that otherwise, the situation will deteriorate.

Asad Umar stated this while addressing media persons along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz. He said that smart lockdown is being carried out in the areas where spread of COVID-19 is increasing. He said doctors, nurses and paramedical staff is serving the general public in the difficult time. He said the public also have responsibility to strictly follow SOPs regarding coronavirus.

Asad Umar said adherence to the SOPs will lead to smooth functioning of the country’s economy and business. He said wearing masks, frequently washing hands and observing social distancing is of vital importance, to stay safe from the coronavirus. He said the number of beds and ventilators are being constantly increased at the hospitals to provide best medical facilities to the patients.

Asad said that the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) after reviewing recent COVID-19 figures believe that the number of nationwide cases by the end of June will be 225,000 or less. Earlier, the government had predicted that there would be around 300,000 cases by the end of this month.

Umar said that the reduction in the projected figures proves that if we all do the right thing and everyone performs their duty on an individual level while the government does its job on a communal level, a significant success in curbing the spread can be seen.

While giving details the reasons behind the reduction in figures, Umar said most of the people realised their responsibility. Not everyone realised [his responsibility] and as a result, the government had to take some administrative measures. He said the authorities were projecting 225,000 cases instead of 300,000 — which were initially projected. He also explained some measures taken by the NCOC to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. He cautioned that the reduction in projected figures does not mean the danger had passed. “It’s a reminder that if we take the right measures, God will protect us and if we don’t, situation can worsen,” he added. He said the government will inform the nation about what the situation would be by the end of July if the current measures stay in place.

The minister acknowledged that pressure on big hospitals in major cities was high for two weeks earlier. The current scenario, however, does not seem to be getting to a position where our health system would collapse. He urged the people to realise their responsibility towards the doctors and healthcare workers who are risking their health and fighting for the nation in this difficult time by taking precautions. He said the threat of the virus has not been averted, but in the last two weeks the situation has improved.

According to Umar, as of now, the health system has not crumbled due to the deadly virus. He assured that the health system is being strengthened, but warned that the situation may worsen if precautions aren’t taken. He said the across country COVID cases have decreased owing to effective measure taken by the government and following of guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) by majority of people. He said spread of pandemic could further reduce by strictly adhering to SOPs.

Paying tributes to healthcare workers, he said doctors and paramedics were taking all possible measures to fight COVID-19. People should also take precautionary measures to keep the COVID spread in check. This would also save health system from over burdening. The whole nation salutes healthcare workers for effectively fighting the pandemic, he added.

Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said on Friday that some 189 additional oxygenated beds have been added in government hospitals in Islamabad in the last four days to meet contingency requirements.

As many as 2,775 people tested covid positive in last 24 hours. While 59 people lost their lives while battling the pandemic on Thursday. A total of 21,041 tests have been conducted in the last 24 hours. Some 84,168 COVID patients have so far recovered from deadly disease across Pakistan.

Likewise, some 491 ventilators are occupied across country from out of 1,562 vents allocated for COVID-19 patients. The total active cases of COVID in country were 107,615.

A total of 195,745 cases have been detected so far including 962 in AJK , 9,946 in Balochistan, 1,398 in GB , 11,981 in ICT, 24,303 in KP, 71,987 in Punjab and 75,168 cases have been reported in Sindh.

Sharing the details of deaths, NCOC said some 3,962 corona patients have died after contracting the virus. According to breakup 1,178 infected patients have died in Sindh, 1,629 in Punjab, 879 in KP, 119 in ICT, 109 in Balochistan, 23 in GB and 25 coronavirus infected people lost their lives in AJK. Sharing the details of coronavirus diagnostic test, the NCOC said 1,193,017 tests have so far been conducted.

Some 4,978 COVID patients have been admitted across the country in 768 hospitals having COVID facilities.