National News

Pakistan identifies 20 cities as coronavirus hotspots

ISLAMABAD: The government has recently announced that 20 cities have been identified as potential Covid-19 hotspots/clusters where restrictive measures are needed to contain the virus in line with the prime minister’s smart lockdown policy.

Of the 20 cities, six are in Sindh (Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Ghotki, Larkana and Khairpur), eight in Punjab(Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujarat, Multan, Gujranwala and Dera Ghazi Khan), four in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Peshawar, Swat, Malakand and Mardan), besides Balochistan capital Quetta and federal capital Islamabad.

According to a statement of the National Coordination and Operation Centre (NCOC), a comprehensive review has been undertaken regarding potential Covid-19 clusters and hotspots across Pakistan in line with PM Khan`s announcement of containment of Covid-19 through smart lockdown strategy.

“A total of 20 cities across Pakistan have been identified as having likely increase in ratio/speed of infection which needs restrictive measures for containment of Covid-19 and names have been shared with the provinces,” it stated.

To contain the spread of the disease while keeping different sectors open, the government has formulated Tracing, Testing and Quarantine (TTQ) strategy.

It is aimed at identifying disease spread, focused clusters/hotspots to enable targeted lock downs and need driven resource optimisation at all levels. The TTQ strategy involves ramping up of testing, rapidly tracing the contacts of confirmed positive cases, and effective isolation of positive and suspected cases.

“In Islamabad, Sectors G-9/2 and G-9/3 had more than 300 cases and were sealed along with KarachiCompany due to which 50,000 people would be affected. The new hotspots in Islamabad which are being monitored and might be sealed include I-8, I-10, Ghauri Town, Bharakhau, G-6 and G-7,” it added.

AJK’s capital city, Muzaffarabad, has been completely shut due to which 200,000 population has been affected.

More than 1,200 other lockdowns were in place in different parts of Pakistan.

To ensure the implementation of health guidelines/ instructions and preventive measures including wearing of face mask in public as per the World Health Organisation’s new guidelines on the subject, special teams are working across the country to ensure enforcement of the standard operating procedures.

In Lahore, some areas of Gulberg Town, cantonment, Wagah, Allama Iqbal Town, Samanabad Zone, Nishter Zone, Data Gunj Bakhsh Zone and Ravi Town may be sealed, while Peshawar’s Ashrafia Colony, parts of University Town, Danishabad and Sector E-2 in Hayatabad Phase-I have already been closed till further orders. A meeting of the provincial task force on Covid-19, which was chaired by KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, approved a smart lockdown strategy for the hotspots to contain the massive outbreak of the virus.

The NCOC was briefed in detail about the operationalisation of additional oxygenated beds and ventilators, including procurement of critical healthcare equipment by the National Disaster Management Authority as announced by the PM.

“A total of 2,150 additional oxygenated beds will be made functional to meet additional requirements, of which 1,000 oxygenated beds will be functional by the end of June and another 1,150 by the end of July,” it added.

-DN Report

June 16, 2020

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