ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Wednesday dismissed rumours that the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan were being understated amid the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament.
Speaking to media in Rawalpindi, Mirza said rumours of a higher number of confirmed cases in the country were “100 per cent untrue”.
In response to a question that the actual number of cases was around 250, Mirza said: “This is 100pc untrue. In fact, it is 200pc untrue.”
The fifth edition of PSL kicked off on Feb 20 and is scheduled to continue till Mar 22 with matches in numerous cities including Karachi, Multan, Rawalpindi and Lahore.
So far, five cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the country — three in the federal areas and two in Karachi.
Mirza today said standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding the coronavirus were working well and needed to be further strengthened.
“Our simple policy is working so far, [it] is working very well and it needs to be further strengthened.
“We need to prepare ourselves for a worst-case scenario but we should hope for the best,” he said, adding that the result of the coordinated efforts — both at the federal and provincial levels — would have a positive result.
With regards to school closures in Islamabad and federal areas, Mirza said at this stage the federal government did not recommend the closure of schools.
He added, however, that provincial governments were independent and the Centre had no objection to their decisions to close schools.
The premier’s special assistant was also asked about Pakistani students who are in China, particularly in Wuhan, where the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, named COVID-19, was first reported. To which, he said that the government was constantly in touch with these students and was doing whatever it could for their well being in coordination with the Chinese government.
He said that they had not been brought back as Pakistan was respecting the regulations of the Chinese government.
Additionally, he said that there was no restriction on those who were outside China’s Hubei province.
“We think that one result of these policies is that this virus hasn’t spread in Pakistan the way it has in other countries,” Mirza said.