Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar has said that the number of coronavirus cases in the country is expected to rise to 225,000 by the end of June, and cautioned that the virus threat is still not over.
The highly-contagious coronavirus causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
The minister was addressing media personnel, along with Information Minister Shibli Faraz, where he said that as per an earlier estimate, 300,000 cases were expected nationwide till June 30.
Umar said that when the number of Covid-19 cases surged, people started following preventative measures.
“There were two weeks when the big hospitals in major cities faced pressure,” he said, cautioning that if the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are not followed, the situation can deteriorate.
The government has increased healthcare facilities with more beds and ventilators, which gives us hope for the coming days, said Umar, adding that on June 14, the authorities disclosed the facts before the public, and presented the estimate for the end of the month.
The minister said that they took into consideration expert opinions and implemented a “smart” lockdown in areas with a high number of Covid-19 cases.
Paying tribute to healthcare workers and those on the frontlines fighting the pandemic, Umar said: “Doctors and paramedical staff are busy for our protection. It is our responsibility to help the front-line workers by playing our part.
“It is not a very difficult thing to do, we just need to have a sense of responsibility. If we do this, our health system would not be paralysed.”
Collectively, it is in our hands to fight the coronavirus while listening to health experts and their advice, he said.
Umar stated that the smart lockdown was implemented from mid-May, and in 20 cities the pandemic seemed to be spreading at a rapid speed.
He said that fortunately, things seemed to be under control at the moment.
“This has given us a lesson that we can control the situation if we want to, by taking the required measures on time. I have given directions for data collection for the coming months of July and August, and will take decisions according to it.”
Earlier this month Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the cases of the deadly coronavirus in Pakistan would hit a peak by the end of July or start of August.
In his address, he also warned of “a very difficult time” ahead if people continued to ignore the SOPs.
Appealing to the citizens to follow precautionary measures, the prime minister said that not following the precautionary measures “will cause harm to the country”.
The lockdown to curb the spread of the respiratory illness does not end the pandemic, but only slows it down, the premier explained.
As of today, Pakistan has recorded 195,745 cases of the coronavirus, with more than 3,900 deaths.
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