–NCOC says special teams will be deployed across country to ensure implementation of SOPs
–Government achieves 30,000 daily tests milestone, says TTQ strategy helped mobilise masses
ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday said that special teams have been made for the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) against coronavirus as the countrywide cases piled up third day in a row.
During the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) meeting, it was noted that the spread of the virus can only be curbed with proper implementation of the SOPs and in this regard, special teams would operate across all provinces to ensure that and if anyone is found violating them, fines would be imposed on them.
The meeting decided that the SOPs would be thoroughly implemented in urban areas, markets and public places.
Pakistan’s tally of coronavirus cases reached 86,139 on Thursday, surpassing China, where the virus is thought to have originated. China has reported 82,933 cases and 4,638 deaths since the start of the outbreak last December.
In Pakistan, over 4,600 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day rise ever since the outbreak started in the country, landing the country at the 17th spot in terms of global coronavirus cases.
Moreover, over 82 patients lost their lives to the disease across the country, raising the death toll to 1,793, while 30,128 patients have recovered so far.
According to official statistics, authorities have so far conducted around 615,511 tests across the country.
As the number of infections continued to increase, Minister of Planning and Development Asad Umar said that the government was launching an effective media campaign across the country to create awareness and to educate the masses for voluntary compliance with SOPs.
30,000 TESTS MILESTONE:
According to the data provided by the NCOC, the test, trace and quarantine (TTQ) strategy developed by the government helped to achieve the coronavirus testing target of 30,000 tests per day.
The data revealed that the core objective of the TTQ strategy was to identify coronavirus hotspots and cluster areas for imposing smart lockdown in the affected places, quarantining of positive and suspected patients, contact tracing of the Covid-19 patients, optimisation of healthcare facilities at all levels, augmentation of testing capacity, boosting healthcare capacity to avoid it getting overrun with the increasing number of patients and meticulous monitoring through technology and trained workforce.
The strategy was developed with the assistance of Pakistan Army to contain the increasing risk of pandemic outbreak through smart lockdowns.
The strategy managed to build up a strong and grass roots level network of trained community activists and leaders to mobilise the masses to fully comply with safety guidelines and SOPs to contain the risk of the contagion.
As many as 66 districts administrations among 1,500 Union Councils were engaged in collaboration with the rural support programmes (RSPs). The available data showed that Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)’s eight districts had 127 local support organisations (LSOs) functional at the basic tier of rural union councils under the ambit of National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). Similarly, Balochistan’s 11 districts had 223 LSOs under NRSP and BRSP, Gilgit-Baltistan’s (GB) nine districts had 58 LSOs under Agha Khan RSP, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) had 5 LSOs under NRSP working, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) seven districts had 141 LSOs under various RSPs operational and Punjab’s 14 districts had 406 LSOs.
“Under these RSPs collaboration around 20 million people would get benefit from community awareness and education programmes and relief activities to control the coronavirus epidemic,” the report read.
Since the strategy was launched across the country after completing its pilot phase, around 2,117 community awareness raising sessions were carried out in the shortest span of time across the country. However, 13,700 mosque announcements were made, about 17,813 information providing pamphlets, brochures and leaflets were distributed, few suspected cases were also identified with the help of this strategy and were referred to the respective health departments, 4,918 face masks were also distributed along with safety gloves whereas 3,430 families were provided soaps for hand-washing.
It is worth mentioning here that under the NRSP collaboration in ICT, around 80 women and 20 men were trained as community activists that signifies the commitment of the masses especially women to spearhead social efforts to contain the risk of outbreak through education and awareness.
Moreover, RSPN has established a monitoring system for this initiative and its format was shared with the NCOC where the information would be provided to NCOC weekly and fortnightly on this format.