ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has said it has been noted that the number of daily coronavirus deaths being reported in Pakistan remained almost the same for the last two weeks, which he said is a good trend.

Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday, he said, “We hope this (deaths) will start decreasing,” and emphasized the need to follow social distancing and preventive measures during the holy month of Ramazan. “We might have to increase the lockdown if people don’t follow social distancing,” he made it clear.

The SAPM said the government has decided to make national guidelines regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), instead of all the provinces issuing their own guidelines.

He said the NDMA’s system through which PPE is being provided directly to hospitals has reduced distribution problems to some extent and added it is also important that they are used rationally. Zafar Mirza said the government is working on a national plan for the safety and protection of frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be announced in a few days. He said it was decided after talking with provincial health ministers and the Pakistan Medical Association that “we need to work together for the safety and protection of our health workers”.

 

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan has soared to 14,079. According to the National Command and Operation Centre, the confirmed cases in Punjab are 5640, Sindh 4956, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1984, Balochistan 853, Islamabad Capital Territory 261, Gilgit-Baltistan 320, and Azad Kashmir 65. So far, 3233 patients have recovered, while 301 deaths have been reported, with 20 new ones.

 

According to the NCOC, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (MoNHSR&C) after the spread of COVID-19, initiated a series of innovative interventions with regional and global spread that has received global acclaim.

 

According to the NCOC, Pakistan was one of the earliest responders to the potential pandemic as the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health (SAPM) Dr Zafar Mirza chaired its first formal consultation with national and international experts on January 15. Prior to this, the disease spread was monitored closely by the Health Ministry.

 

It added that COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan China in December 2019 and was declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th of January, it was declared a pandemic on 11th March. The formal consultation with experts initiated a chain of events in the form of interactions, advisories, initiatives, coordination and interventions during the last 104 days (28th April 2020).

 

The result of this level of preparedness, paired with early interventions ensured that Pakistan was the last country in the region to detect COVID-19 case, even when sandwiched between the two epicentres of the COVID-19 spread, giving Pakistan incredibly valuable time to prepare, said the NCOC.

 

Seriously

Zafar Mirza also claimed that the government is taking the health and safety of frontline health workers against COVID-19 seriously.

He said the federal cabinet had decided that Shaheed package will be offered to frontline health workers who have lost their lives while providing medical services against corona virus. Dr Zafar said the package ranges from 3 million to 10 million rupees depending on job grade in addition to other benefits including official residence and hundred percent pensions to the family of the deceased. He said the assistance package will be applicable in ICT, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Special Assistant said it has been decided to devise national guidelines regarding use of personal protective equipment across the country. He said provision of PPE to hospitals is smoothly underway through NDMA.