Covid 19, National News

‘Nation must take measures against COVID-19 or prepare for the worst’

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar recently said that amid sharp rise in death toll and coronavirus cases last week, the government still hope that the virus will not spread as rapidly as previously had been estimated but takes measures to prepare the nation for the worst.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar recently at a media briefing said that besides easing the restrictions, the government was taking certain steps including the use of latest technology to identify Covid-19 hotspots and ensure ‘smart’ lock down in order to control local transmission.

During the last one week, the country has recorded 200 deaths and more than 10,000 new cases of the highly contagious virus.

With this addition, the overall death toll has surged to 661 with the number of coronavirus cases rising to 30,416.

The minister expressed the hope that the coronavirus would not spread rapidly. However, he said, the government was preparing for the worst.

Even in big cities like Peshawar and Lahore, some specific areas such as Thokar Niaz Beg were severely hit by the virus, he said, adding that hotspots were being identified across the country and latest technology would be used for enforcing smart lockdown.

“Under the new policy of smart lockdown, specific areas having Covid-19 cases will be cordoned off to stop the spread of the virus. As the lockdown has been eased so the individual responsibility of every person has increased and now everyone should talke precautionary measures,” he added.

While asserting that the countrywide lockdown could not be enforced for an indefinite period, Mr Umar appreciated that the decision of easing the restrictions was taken after deliberations with the provincial governments and analysing data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

Talking about use of technology in the fight against Covid-19, the federal minister said a web portal and an app were being launched in Punjab. It would help even ambulance drivers to check availability of beds and ventilators at hospitals.

“As general public will be able to download the portal, while shifting a patient to hospital in a private car, they will also be able to know where they have to take the patient,” the federal minister said, adding that the portal could be replicated in other provinces.

Mr Umar urged citizens to visit hospitals if they had Covid-19 symptoms and get themselves tested without any hesitation or fear. He suggested to patients that they could even isolate themselves at their houses as it was not necessary for every patient to stay at government-built quarantine centres.

According to the NCOC data, 249 coronavirus patients across the country are in critical condition.

Amid the situation, the easing of lockdown is a challenge for traders, buyers as well as authorities to ensure that everyone adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

-DN Report

May 13, 2020

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