• The country rises to position 23 with more than 1,500 deaths due to coronavirus
• Lockdown is not active consideration
• The government expects the impact of SOP violations during Eid to be felt in mid-June

ISLAMABAD: When Pakistan will surpass China among the countries most affected by the pandemic with a sudden increase in the Covid-19 case, an important meeting of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) to be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan will be held on Monday (today) to decide on a future strategy even though the federal government has stated that locking options are not under active consideration.

“The (always) Lockdown option is always on the table, but it is not under active consideration,” said the Federal Minister for Planning and Development of Asad Umar, who is also the head of the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), in a briefing. to a group of TV anchors with Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Health Dr. Zafar Mirza and other senior government officials here on Sunday.

Referring to calls by the opposition parties and the Sindh government, headed by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), to impose strict lockdowns, the minister claimed that so far the federal government had not yet received requests from the provinces to enforce lockouts.

Mr Umar informed the meeting that the four main ministers would first attend the NCOC meeting which would be held on Monday morning and then they would also attend the NCC meeting later on.

Briefing with the help of presentations that highlighted projected and actual figures relating to Covid-19 was made for senior TV anchors on the day when the number of people affected passed 71,000 marks and Pakistan became the 23rd country to register more than 1,500 deaths due to coronavirus.

Asked about the point at which the government would consider enforcing lockdowns, the minister replied that locking could only occur, when they saw the country’s health system being overwhelmed, which he said did not happen at this time.

He said they hoped that the impact of violations of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) carried out by people during Eid al-Fitr would be felt in mid-June.

“Initial locking was a mistake”

Responding to another question, Umar said in his opinion that they had made a “mistake” by applying the locking too early and too badly.

The Minister said the government is aggressively pursuing the TTQ (Tracking, Testing and Quarantine) policy. In addition, he said, tracking and testing software is being improved and the screening system at the airport is being improved.

Previously, NCOC in its meeting sought to involve market associations for the implementation of Covid-19 guidelines and SOPs in the form of letters and enthusiasm.

After another meeting, Umar said that shop owners must strictly implement a “no mask, no service” policy.

The peak time is not here yet

Meanwhile, a senior government official on condition of anonymity said they expect the peak time of the pandemic in the country sometimes between late June and mid-July.

Given future projections, he said they expect that the number of Covid-19 cases will be between 110,000 and 125,000, with the number of deaths ranging between 2,750 and 3,250 in mid-June.

Collective Punishment

Speaking to Dawn, federal federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz when expressing his serious concern over the increasing Covid-19 case in the country said the government was considering introducing a system of “collective punishment” for those who would violate the SOP. .

“There are two options available for the government. “Either to lock up, which we don’t want, or to ensure strict SOP compliance through punitive measures against violators,” he said.

Described, the minister said that the entire market or shopping center can be closed for a certain period of time if a violation of SOP is found. Likewise, he said, traffic police will be able to laugh at any public transportation vehicle if passengers are found without a mask.

Responding to questions, Senator Faraz said that so far there had been no decision to allow the reopening of the marriage hall. However, he added the issue would be discussed with the provinces in a meeting to be held today.

Pointing point

During the briefing, participants with the help of slides were told that the number of coronavirus patients and deaths due to pandemics was still lower than the projected number.

According to estimates, the government expects 97,611 Covid-19 cases in the country by May 30, but the actual number of reported cases is 66,457. – 32 percent less than expected. Likewise, the number of projected deaths due to the pandemic on May 30 was 2,266, but the country registered 1,395 deaths on May 30, which is 34 percent less than the projected amount.

Participants were told that so far only 24 percent of the total ventilators available in private and public sector hospitals had been used. The recovery rate among patients on ventilators is between 10 and 20 percent.

According to data provided at the briefing, out of a total of 4,095 ventilators available in the country, 3,188 are still empty. Data shows that Peshawar currently uses 51 percent of the 167 available ventilators because there are 71 patients, including 33 non-Covid-19 patients, on the ventilator.

Of the 1,523 ventilators ordered, Pakistan is likely to receive 897 ventilators in June.

Smart Lockdown

Participants were told that smart locking had now been carried out in 550 places where there were a large number of Covid-19 cases. A total of 334 smart locks were made in 16 Punjab districts, 222 in 19 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa districts, nine in three AJK districts, eight in sector I-10 in Islamabad, and seven in three districts in Sindh.

They were also told that the curve showing Covid-19 cases in South Asia was almost flat and not as steep as in other countries affected by the pandemic.

Published in Dawn, June 1, 2020

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