ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - The National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) has observed a slight decline in the number of symptomatic and suspected Covid-19 patients in the country.

The forum was informed by the provinces that the demand for testing of coronavirus had decreased and the home isolation was being preferred by the suspected patients. The meeting held at NCOC reviewed COVID-19 testing, smart lockdown, enforcement of health guidelines and compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

It was also apprised that a slight decline has been noted in the number of symptomatic/ suspected COVID-19 patients. The meeting was told that a significant decline has been noted in coronavirus tests in Sindh, while reduction in testing was noted in Punjab.

The NCOC sought reasons for the decline in daily testing in provinces in the last week since June 21. Secretary Health Sindh told that there was a decrease in testing based on some administrative issues which will be resolved in the next 2 to 3 days. And there will be a significant increase in testing numbers.

The Provincial Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries participated through video link.

 

The NCOC also reviewed the current pattern of COVID testing in detail. The testing conducted on June 21 and in last 24 hours was analysed. The forum was apprised that a total of 30,520 tests were conducted on June 21 including 13,890 tests in Sindh, 9,598 in Punjab, 3,416 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2,545 in Islamabad, 117 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 707 in Balochistan and  247 covid tests had been conducted in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on June 21.

 

Similarly, as many as 21,033 covid tests were conducted on June 26. Giving details, the NCOC apprised that 5,103 covid tests had been conducted in Sindh, 9,353 in Punjab, 2,913 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2,463 in Islamabad,34 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 881 in Balochistan and 286 tests for coronavirus were conducted in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on June 26.

 

It was also briefed that some 542 lockdowns have been enforced in 20 cities of the country since June 14, thus restricting people’s movement in the closed areas. Regarding enforcement measures in smart lockdown areas, the provinces informed the NCOC that there was a significant positive behaviour change and increase in awareness among the people.

The provinces briefed the NCOC on the implementation of enforcement measures for industries, markets, transport, government offices, mosques and public gatherings. With regard to the implementation of health guidelines, courts followed guidelines the most. However, the need to implement safety measures in markets and shopping malls stressed.

 

Similarly, in hospitals, isolation quarantine centres, the implementation of safety measures were required. While in the transport sector response was more wanting. The provinces appreciated the NCOC’s track and trace (TTQ) strategy and health guidelines which helped them for implementing the targeted lockdowns.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar appreciated the provinces, especially the field staff, who worked day and night to ensure the safety of the people. “We need to take precautionary measures, especially face masks and social distances, to control the pandemic,” he said.

Asad Umer said that wherever the provinces needed additional assistance, especially in Balochistan, polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test machines or testing kits would be provided.

 

On Saturday, authorities confirmed that the nationwide tally of coronavirus reached 198,883 with 3,138 new cases over the last twenty four hours. The total cases detected in Punjab are 72,880, Sindh 76318,  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 24, 943, Balochistan 10,116, Islamabad 12, 206, Azad Kashmir 1,003 and Gilgit Baltistan 1417. Some 86,906 patients have so far recovered from the disease.

 

The death toll from the virus stands at 4035 with 74 deaths reported over the last twenty four hours.

At least 21,033 corona tests were carried out during this period.

 

On the other hand, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said that some 7,472 violations of health guidelines / instructions were observed across Pakistan in last 24 hours. Some 709 markets/shops, two industrial units were sealed in last 24 hours and 1,516 transporters were imposed heavy fines. In the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) 13 violations of SOPs were reported. Of which six markets, shops, two industrial units were sealed.

Some 57 markets, shops were sealed and 263 transport vehicles banned due to over 532 SOP violations in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Likewise, 81 markets and shops were sealed, and 177 transport vehicles fined over 892 violations of COVID SOPs in the Balochistan.

Similarly, 60 markets and 32 transport vehicles fined over 193 SOP violations in Gilgit-Baltistan.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 102 transport vehicles were fined with 212 shops / markets sealed / closed owing to 4,019 violations of covid SOPs. While 293 markets, shops and nine industrial units were closed / sealed, and 942 transport vehicles fined over 1,823 violations in Punjab.

It was also informed that the federal and provincial authorities were ensuring compliance to health guidelines / instructions, particularly regarding workplaces, industrial sector, transport, markets and shops, besides pursuing the Track, Trace and Quarantine (TTQ) strategy.