ISLAMABAD - The country on Saturday recoded highest number of deaths in a single day as 78 more virus patients died while death toll from novel coronavirus swelled to 1,395.

According to officials, with 2,429 new coronavirus cases the nationwide tally reaches 66,457. These include: 24,104 in Punjab, 26,113 in Sindh, 9,067 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 4,087 in Balochistan, 2192 in Islamabad, 660 in Gilgit Baltistan and 234 in Azad Kashmir. During the last 24 hours, as many as 12,020 coronavirus tests were conducted across the country.

On the other hand, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday sought provinces’ feedback on negative list aiming to finalise the recommendations of opening some more sectors of the economy halted due to COVID-19 outbreak.

The negative list comprises of economic and industrial sector halted due to COVID-19 spread risk and were considered to be opened in the coming days for economic sustainability and viability so that major unemployment and crisis could be avoided.

This was discussed in a meeting held here at NCOC, for analyzing long and short term strategy on COVID-19 titled “Living with the Pandemic”, chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar.

The NCOC recommended that the educational institutions should be kept closed till August as the summer season and pandemic would be at its peak in July.

The Forum emphasised the need to revise its communication strategy for better messaging and creating awareness among public on the COVID-19. Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said restaurants under the negative list, would have to be completely close their services or partially initiate its functions with only take away services.

The forum insisted that the marriage halls should only be allowed with limited number of guests, one dish and strict compliance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).  Asad Umar directed the concerned authorities to calculate economic impacts of COVID-19 in the first quarter of current calendar year. The NCOC stressed that capacity building and restructuring of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination should be done as per approval by the federal cabinet.

The forum was also apprised that the critical care resources would be increased owing to the surging risk of the pandemic. The forum was informed that the testing capacity of COVID-19 was being increased to 672,000 tests.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Khusroo Bakhtiar said that National Integrated Management System should be put in place for better coordination between the federal and the provinces.

The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Brig (R) Syed Ejaz Ahmad Shah,  Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar,  SAPM for Information and Broadcasting and Chairman China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Lt. Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yousaf, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus.

Mirza urges citizens

to follow COVID-19

SOPs vigorously

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said although wearing of masks was mandatory, no punitive action was being taken against the violators.

 

Dr Zafar Mirza asked the citizens to strictly follow social distancing and other precautionary measures to stop increasing local transmission of COVID-19 in the country.

 

Addressing a press conference at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Dr Mirza said that now the use of mask is compulsory during shopping in markets and in public transport as locally transmitted case ratio reached to 92%. 

 

He also appealed citizens to follow all standard operating procedures (SOPs) during these days and avoiding hand shaking and leaving home without any reason. He said that there were complaints about violation of SOPs in markets by the citizens and shopkeepers.

 

He asked the citizens to support the efforts of government in its fight against COVID-19 and effectively implementing its lockdown relaxation policy to continue business activities and normalizing the lives of citizens. He said that this relaxation policy could be successfully implemented if citizens are fully cooperated with the government and implemented all SOPs otherwise there are chances of spread of disease. He said that still there are threats of spread of the disease and asked the citizens to continue implementing protective measures as per directions to stem the increase in coronavirus cases.

He said that in order to create awareness in public about preventive measures, the government has tried its level best to publically share all SOPs. He said that SOPs have been prepared for all persons concerned keeping in view the prevailing disease situation and asked the citizens to read these SOPs.

 

He said that during last 24 hours, 78 corona patients lost their lives, which is ever highest figure of deaths in the country due to COVID-19. He said that four healthcare workers also died from corona during last 24 hours. He said that so far 1,394 patients expired from corona disease. He added 36% patients have been recovered completely while over 532,000 corona tests have been conducted so far with 12,020 tests in last 24 hours.

 

 

Over 20,000 overseas Pakistanis to be repatriated from June 1: Moeed

 

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf Saturday said around 20,000 overseas Pakistan would be repatriated in the next 10 days from June 1 as the policy was revised to bring 2,000 passengers per day.

 

Addressing a joint press conference with SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza here at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), he said over 33,000 overseas Pakistanis were brought back to the country from 55-60 countries as 1,000 passengers were brought back per day.

 

The SAPM said the core focus of the government was to bring back stranded labourers from the gulf countries that were unable to afford the travel expense. Most of the labourers were stuck in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). “Around 8,000 passengers will be brought back from UAE and 4,000 from KSA whereas all of these passengers comprised of labourers left unemployed in these states and wanted to come back to the country.”

He added that a new policy was also in the offing for the overseas Pakistanis which would help resolve the issues faced by them.  

 

Dr Moeed also noted that Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had completely opened air space for outbound flights where all international airlines would be allowed to take foreigners and outbound passengers abroad. The decision was made after analyzing the least impact of outbound flights on increasing COVID-19 risk.

 

While briefing on the land borders’ situation, the SAPM mentioned that the land borders were operating on the same standard operating procedures (SOPs) where borders with China and India were closed.

Dr Moeed said around 180 Pakistanis were repatriated from India on May 27 through the eastern border. The Afghan borders namely at Torkham and Chaman had requisite arrangements to contain the risk of COVID-19 transmission. “The government has announced to revive trade of sustenance items with Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds where the mechanism has been devised in coordination with the Afghan authorities.” The SAPM said that the trade trucks were allowed to move for six days for transporting goods from Torkham border and around 250 trucks a day had traveled from this border.