Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Sunday has warned that the COVID-19 cases in Pakistan could reach 1.2 million by the end of July.
While addressing media briefing after chairing a meeting of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on COVID -19 in Islamabad, Asad Umar issued a stark warning regarding the current trajectory of the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“By the middle of June, we have around 150,000 cases, if such situation prevails and no change is made then, according to the experts, the number could be increased by two folds to 300,000 by end of current month and could also be surged up to around one million to 1.2 million by end of next month,” he said.
“This is, of course, a matter of worry but the good thing is that we have the capability to avoid such a situation by taking administrative actions”, he further added.
“The practicing social distancing is the simplest way to ensure that businesses remain open and the wheel of the economy keeps turning.”
He warned that if people failed to follow preventive guidelines issued by the government, it would result in “people losing their livelihoods”.
“We’re now at the stage where we will start taking administrative action against those who aren’t wearing masks or maintaining social distancing,” he added.
Umar said that “the world is now beginning to realize that imposing a complete lockdown will cause the economy to crumble”.
“We have to enforce smart lockdowns in hotspots because this way we can stop the spread in areas that are witnessing outbreaks and at the same time protect jobs and livelihoods by not imposing complete lockdowns,” he said.
Federal Minister also said that the NCOC had also decided to increase the testing capacity of Covid-19 from current 40,000-50,000 daily to around 150,000 tests within four to six weeks, which means that we would be testing around 100,000 people on daily basis by mid-July.
Asad also informed that at present around 2000 patients were on oxygen beds across the country while keeping in view the growing numbers of patients, the federal government would provide 1000 more beds by end of current month and 1000 beds by end of next month.
“We will provide 500 beds each to Sindh and Punjab provinces, 450 to Islamabad, 400 beds to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 200 beds to Balochistan, 60 to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and 40 beds to Gilgit-Baltistan”, he added