Virus climbs up as curbs eased

-With over 30,416 confirmed cases, Pakistan becomes 20th most affected country
-Recoveries soar to 8,063
-Government mulls using technology, data to identify virus hotspots
-Sindh overtakes Punjab as new cases emerge throughout province

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan climbed to the 20th spot on the global coronavirus ranking on Sunday after the nationwide tally of COVID-19 patients reached 30,000 as Sindh reported 709 new cases.
According to the coronavirus tracker by John Hopkins University, the country is now ranked 27th with 648 deaths.
Earlier today, the national dashboard in its daily update had stated that 1,991 cases were detected in the country in the last 24 hours taking the national tally to 29,465. This was the biggest single-day jump since February 26 when the first case was reported.
Sindh leads the tally with 11,480 cases, followed by Punjab with 11,093. In Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, 4,669 cases have been recorded while 2,017 cases have been reported in Balochistan. Gilgit Baltistan has reported 430, Islamabad 641 and AJK has reported 86 cases so far.
In the last 24 hours, 13,341 tests have been conducted of which 1,991 came back positive. In total, 283,517 tests have been conducted in the country so far.
Meanwhile, 267 patients have recovered from the virus, taking the total number of recoveries in the country to 8,023. Globally there are now at least 4,001,437 cases of coronavirus with 277,127 deaths. The United States has been the hardest-hit country, with 1,305,544 cases and 78,618 deaths. Europe is the hardest-hit continent, with 1,708,648 cases and 155,074 deaths.
The government is now identifying virus hotspots across the country with the help of data it has gathered and technology to ensure implementation of a smart lockdown, Planning Minister Asad Umar says.
When these areas where the virus has spread are identified, health teams will visit and monitor them to check if the entire area needs to be sealed or just specific lanes, he said in a briefing on Sunday. The minister explained that this is done through a heat map of the country, which shows health officials which areas are most affected by the virus. “For example, presently, Karachi, Peshawar, Multan, Lahore and Quetta are some of the areas with the highest number of coronavirus patients,” he said. So far, 177 areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 359 areas in Punjab have been sealed after they were declared “virus hotspots”.
Umar revealed that the government was preparing a web portal on which hospital across the country could log in and add their data. “It will include the number of coronavirus patients they have, the total number of beds and even ventilators,” he said, adding that through this, all COVID-19 data will be collected in one place. He lauded the Punjab government for preparing an app that helps rescue services identify hospitals near them when they pick up a patient.
Umar emphasised that this will also help the government provide aid to people in these areas. “We have also collaborated with the National Rural Support Programme,” he said. This mechanism is being developed because a countrywide lockdown is not possible as it will have drastic affects on daily wagers, he reiterated. “This, however, does not mean that all preventive measures will be lifted.”
The minister urged people to take responsibility for themselves as it was “more important now than ever” to prevent the virus from spreading. Umar also lauded the efforts of all the doctors, paramedical staff and other frontline workers for their relentless work during the crisis.
Pakistan has reported its highest-ever one day increase of 2,000 cases in the virus on Sunday. The tally of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country has jumped to 29, 465 with 1,991new cases reported during the past 24 hours on Sunday.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre, 11,093 cases have so far been detected in Punjab, 10,771 in Sindh, 4,509 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1,935 in Balochistan, 430 in Gilgit Baltistan, 641 in Islamabad and 86 in Azad Kashmir. 8,023 patients have so far recovered from the virus while 20,803 patients are still going through the treatment process.