Asad says curbing COVID-19 spread is govt’s top priority, urges nation to follow SOPs

Asad says curbing COVID-19 spread is govt’s top priority, urges nation to follow SOPs

Islamabad (Web Desk): Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Saturday said the government’s foremost priority is to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

While addressing a media briefing at National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in Islamabad on Saturday, he said more than 1,900 precious lives have so far been lost in Pakistan in this killer disease which shows the enormity and gravity of the situation.

Asad said that the first and foremost priority of the government is to slow the pace of spread of corona pandemic, the Radio Pakistan reported.

He said that the two of the most important components of this strategy are to strictly follow the precautionary measures advised by medical community and to bring changes in our lifestyles.

The minister said the people who are not adopting precautionary measures are not only risking their own lives, but also the lives of others with whom they come in contact with.

He added that district administrations across the country have been directed to take strict action where people flout the rules and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The planning minister the basic aim entrusted to administration is to protect the lives of 210 million people in Pakistan.

He said government wants to help everyone earn their livelihoods, but not at the cost of peril to health of others. He said no one can be allowed to endanger life of others.

The minister said 884 areas of Pakistan have been under smart lockdown actions with more than 200,000 people impacted due to restrictions.

Asad Umar said work has been done to improve testing systems and now over 22,000 tests are being conducted daily.

On February 26, when first cases emerged, there were only 8 laboratories capable of testing people in the country, now this number has increased to dozens, the minister said adding that the number of ventilators in the country has seen two fold increases in four months.

"In addition, the scientific institutions of the country in collaboration with private sector, have started producing face masks and protective clothing", Asad Umar said.

Paying rich tributes to the services of frontline medical staff, the minister said that the government is taking all possible steps to health them dispense their duties.

He said direct helpline was also being established to receive complaints about the corona related issues.

The minister informed that a mobile application was being launched to provide people information about availability of healthcare facilities in different hospitals across the country.

He specifically asked doctors and other healthcare staff to download this app so that they could provide information to common people.

Asad said in order to mitigate sufferings of those affected by lockdown, the government announced Rs 1200 billion stimulus relief package besides corona relief fund and other several packages by State Bank of Pakistan.

The minister specifically thanked workers and doctors of healthcare system who were playing role on front line besides he also thanked administration for working diligently during COVID-19 He said police was the second most important sector after health care who worked hard to enforce SOPs during lock down.

Asad Umar also thanked the ministry of information and Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) who were timely conveying the message of the government regarding coronavirus to the people.

"NCOC team was working day and night since March 27 without any break and their dedication and spirit was commendable," the minister said.