LAHORE          -            The Government of Punjab has constituted a working group of epidemiologists, public health specialists, applied economists, statisticians, public policy specialists to advise the government on health and economic impacts of COVID-19 through data modeling and predictive analysis regarding smart test sampling and allied matters.

Minister of Finance Hashim Jawan Bakht, the convener of the working group has said that the group has international experts from Yale Institute of Global Health, Centre of International Development Harvard, London School of Economics, Universities of George Town and Washington, CERP and Mahbub ul Haq Centre to support the government for evidence-based policy making.

He further added that in the recently launched RISE Framework- Health was one of the main pillars and data, evidence and international expertise will help us fight this disease effectively as well as prepare our systems better for pandemics and disasters.

He said the government will work towards an intelligent strategy to open up a few economic sectors and  the smart contact tracing will help us quickly identify industries and economic sectors that are safe to operate.  This will be a  carefully crafted approach so that the risk of infections is reduced  and economic sectors are able to operate with certain SOPs on health, social distancing and behaviour change, Minister Bakht added.  The working group will meet regularly and share sampling design and predictive modeling with the Health Department and the recommendations for policy action with the Cabinet Committee on Prevention of Coronavirus Disease.