–Recoveries top 25,000 as 1,140 patients test negative for coronavirus in 24 hours
–Govt advises people to wear masks in public places as local transmission rate touches 92pc
–Sindh govt denies rumours of ‘stricter lockdown’, urges public to avoid rushing to markets
ISLAMABAD/KARACHI/LAHORE: Pakistan’s coronavirus cases surged past 70,000 on Sunday and death toll crossed 1,500 as the provinces and autonomous areas continued to report more cases and fatalities.
Meanwhile, the number of people who have recovered from the virus in Pakistan has topped 25,000 after 1,140 additional recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours.
Punjab reported 952 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the provincial tally to 25,056. The province also saw a record jump in the number of fatalities due to the virus, with 36 more deaths reported in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll in the province to 475.
Sindh has reported 885 new coronavirus cases, taking the provincial total to 28,245. 16 more deaths were also reported in the last 24 hours, taking the fatalities in the province to 481.
Islamabad reported 226 new cases of the coronavirus, taking its total to 2,418, according to the government’s Covid-19 portal. Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) reported 18 new cases and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) reported 17, taking their tallies to 678 and 251, respectively. The capital also reported four more deaths from the virus and GB has reported two fatalities.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) reported 487 more cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the provincial tally to 10,027. 20 more deaths were reported in the province, raising the death toll to 473.
106 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Balochistan, taking the provincial tally to 4,193, according to the Balochistan health department. The province also recorded four “probable deaths” during the last 24 hours. Its number of confirmed deaths stands at 46.
GOVT ADVISES PEOPLE TO WEAR MASKS:
As the coronavirus cases continued to increase, the federal government advised the people to wear masks as a precautionary measure against the virus.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that the country’s infection rate for coronavirus was on the rise with local transmission rate standing at 92 per cent.
He said that cases are increasing as the disease is spreading, so is the importance of following standard operating procedures (SOPs).
He added said 78 deaths had been reported in the past 24 hours, which was the highest single-day tally for Pakistan since the outbreak.
He said that people “must” wear masks in public transports, including trains, buses and planes, mosques, shops, bazaars and malls. He further advised them to use their own “judgement” as well regarding wearing masks at home. “If you feel there are a lot of people, then you should wear a mask,” he added.
The SAPM said that around 25 per cent of all hospital assets in the country were engaged, clarifying that the overall situation in the country was under control.
“But I am sure some hospitals are full in some cities. But that does not mean hospitals in the entire country are full,” he said.
Earlier, while briefing the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Dr Mirza said that the government was planning to hire retired government doctors on contractual basis to cover the shortage of doctors and paramedics in the country amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
He also said that dedicated call centres for coronavirus would be established soon in all provinces to address people’s concerns and answer their questions on the virus.
He told the NCOC that Sindh and Balochistan were not ready to undertake and impose smart lockdown like Punjab and KP.
The SAPM said that both provincial governments have backed the quarantined isolation method of keeping the effects and spread of the virus minimal.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, while chairing the NCOC session, said that the government would ask the business and trading community of Pakistan to help out in the implementation of SOPs to stay safe and minimise the spread of the virus.
Umar urged shopkeepers to adopt the policy of refusing to conduct business with a customer not wearing a face mask.
He said that the NCOC was simultaneously working on short-term and long-term strategies and methods to deal with the coronavirus and a part of this strategy includes strict punishments for those who fail to adhere and abide by the SOPs.
The minister also talked about the added advantage of centralised Resource Management System (RMS) for coronavirus and how it would help provinces to keep better tabs on the spread of the virus and also help the people find healthcare facilities in case they show Covid-19 symptoms.
SINDH DENIES RUMOURS OF STRICTER LOCKDOWN:
Sindh government spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab denied prevailing rumours regarding a stricter lockdown and closure of shops in a video statement issued on Sunday.
Asking citizens not to scare those around them through misinformation, he appealed to the people not to pay heed to any rumours until the government made official announcements.
He pointed out that as a result of the fear of a tighter lockdown, people were rushing to the markets while ignoring precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus, which could be extremely dangerous.