–Asad Umar says ‘restrictions’ contained spread of coronavirus, essential transportation to continue smoothly
–Zafar Mirza says average per day increase in COVID-19 cases is 12pc
ISLAMABAD: As coronavirus cases continue to surge in Pakistan with the national tally crossing 2,100, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, who also heads the coordination committee on COVID-19, said on Wednesday that the “restrictions” to contain the contagion would remain in place till April 14.
As of midnight, Sindh and Punjab reported 709 and 748 cases each. Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported 164 and 276 cases, respectively. Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan region have detected 190 cases, whereas Islamabad has 54 cases.
So far, recoveries stand at 85, with a total of 30 deaths. At least 10 people are in critical condition.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) along with Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and PM’s Special Assistant on National Security Moeed Yusuf, Umar said the decision was taken by the federal government after taking provincial governments on board.
During this lockdown period, “Goods transport will continue as all members present in the meeting had agreed on cooperating in this regard,” he noted, adding that the restrictions successfully contained the virus.
“The industries manufacturing basic necessities — food, medicine, and power etc. — will operate as they are crucial at this time,” he said, adding: “These restrictions will bear fruit only if basic necessities are being provided to the people […] The federal and provincial governments are on the same page in this regard.”
“The meetings of the NCC will be held regularly before April 14 to review the situation,” Umar said.
“On April 4, the first flight will come in the country via Pakistan International Airlines. Passengers will be tested and they will be kept in quarantine facility till the results are received,” he said, referring to the government’s aim to resume flight operations.
If they test negative, then we will ask them to self-quarantine and take necessary precautionary measures, the minister said.
“On April 5, we will review this measure of bringing people in from abroad, if it is successful then the flights will be started in different airports of the country […] While the domestic flights will remain suspended.”
Addressing the presser, Zafar Mirza urged the people to maintain social distancing. “The people should also observe self-quarantine,” said Mirza.
“If we make the restrictions stern then it will yield better results,” he explained, adding: “Several offices are still using biometric for attendance. We strictly advise them against it.”
Speaking of the situation in Pakistan, Mirza said: “The total number of suspected cases are 17,331 out of which an increase of 1,436 was recorded in the past 24 hours. The surge is high; the average increase per day is 12%.”
“Currently, there are a total of 2,049 confirmed cases in Pakistan, with an increase of 178 in the past 24 hours,” he said.
He said there were over 8,800 people in quarantine. Of them, over 5,000 people have been tested out of which 19% have tested positive, he added.
PIA TO BRING PEOPLE HOME:
From April 3-11, 17 PIA flights will fly to several countries in addition to special flights to bring stranded Pakistanis home.
“The biggest concern of ours is testing the people coming into the country. The technical staff has said that we can bring in 2,000 passengers right now,” he said.