ISLAMABAD                -               Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services (NHS) Dr Zafar Mirza on Monday confirmed five deaths in a day and said that local transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is increasing in the country.

While addressing an online media briefing in the capital, he said that local transmission in country has surged to 29 percent and total deaths have reached 21.

Dr Zafar Mirza however also said that the ratio of increase in number of cases has decreased in the last 24 hours and only 79 cases were reported compared to 99 confirmed cases a day before.

SAPM on NHS also said that 4055 people in country are in quarantine and 19 percent of them have tested positive with COVID-19.  He added that out of the 1625 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan 882 are pilgrims that have returned from Iran. 247 cases are those who have returned from other countries.  Giving further details of the patients admitted in hospitals he said that 783 people are admitted in the hospitals of the country and 773 out of them are stable.

“Ten patients admitted in hospitals are critical,” he said.

Giving details of reported deaths in the country, Dr. Zafar Mirza said that seven people lost their lives in Sindh due to COVID-19, six in Punjab, five in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), two in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and one death is reported in Sindh.

SAPM on NHS also said that the recovery rate is also improving in the country and 2 patients have been discharged after making a full recovery.

Dr. Mirza added that the number of COVID-19 cases has reached 1625 which includes 593 from Punjab, 508 from Sindh, 195 from KP, 144 from Baluchistan, 128 from GB, 51 from Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and six from Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

He said that the government has also taken national level measures to cope with COVID-19 situation. To welcome new ideas and inventions the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has provided a platform to researchers and experts. All sectors will be invited to research for the prevention of COVID-19 and proposals could be sent to HEC in this regard.

He said that the program will be offered for all Pakistanis living inside and outside the country.

Meanwhile, National Institute of Health (NIH) The National Institute of Health (NIH) arranged a meeting with Chinese health experts for sharing their experiences regarding the management and control of COVID-19.

Statement issued by NIH said that healthcare providers including epidemiologists, doctors, and emergency management teams from NIH, PIMS, Polyclinic, NIRM, FGH, NESCOM, PAEC, KRL and BBH hospitals participated in the meeting while health professionals from GB, AJK, and DHQ Rawalpindi also participated via video conference.

Chinese health team comprises of epidemiologists, ICU specialists, IPC specialists, medical specialists, and outbreak control specialists.

Prof. Mo Minghul head of medical team Xinjiong Uygur autonomous region, demonstrated the general perspective of COVID- 19 and its management. He indicated how the Chinese community was involved in epidemic surveillance and containment of COVID-19.

Dr. Li Feugsen described the salient features of the diagnostic and clinical management of the patients under ICU. He shared many clinical examples of COVID-19 patients with the doctors and health staff of Pakistan.

 He also shared his expertise and the Chinese perspective of management of COVID patients with critical conditions.

During the session, Chinese demonstrators welcomed all the audience for questions and there was a very healthy debate on COVID- 19.

During the inaugural session, Executive Director NIH, Maj. Gen. Aamer Ikram warmly welcomed the Chinese team and participants.  He said it is very important for us to take advantage of the experiences of China in controlling the global epidemic.

He also said that the National Institutes of Health will continue to provide similar research and technical platforms for all provinces and regions of Pakistan in public health prevention