Virus spirals with 4,000 new cases


-Country-wide tally exceeds 83,000 cases
-Recoveries near 29,000 mark
-Government reiterates following SOPs to contain virus spread

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: A whopping 4,131 new coronavirus cases were reported across the country on June 2 and 67 more died from the infection over the past 24 hours, media reported.The latest surge in COVID-19 cases takes the nation-wide tally to 80,463 while the death toll has risen to 1,688. According to statistics provided by NCOC, Pakistan has broken its previous record number of new COVID-19 cases reported over 24 hours yesterday which was 3,938.
Earlier on Sunday, Pakistan reported its most number of deaths during 24 hours with 88 new fatalities, however, given the swelling number of coronavirus cases, doctors and health experts have warned that the infection is likely to further spread unless a strict lockdown is not imposed.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a live televised address, had apprised the nation on the decisions made regarding the lockdown in Pakistan to contain the novel coronavirus during the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting held on Monday.
“Since day one when we got to know that the coronavirus had started spreading in Pakistan, we imposed a lockdown following a national security committee meeting,” he had said.
“We observed the conditions in the Chinese city of Wuhan and in Europe when the virus started spreading and we were seeing how the world was responding. But at that time, when we had discussions and meetings, I was very clear on the path Pakistan had to take.
“Pakistan’s situation is different than that in China or Europe,” he had said, noting that he had earlier informed the nation that 25% of the country’s population was below the poverty line, which “means that nearly 50 million people in our country do not eat two full meals a day”.
PM Imran had said doctors, elite, and the poor all had diverse opinions but it was the downtrodden ones of the society who did not have a voice. “But in hindsight, I should not have stopped businesses and construction because we had to balance it. Coronavirus is not going away until a vaccine is not formulated. We have to live with it,” he had noted.
PM Imran had also mentioned that the government had prepared a ‘negative list’ of sectors that would remain shut down but “we have opened everything else”. The list, he added, “will be shared later in the day as a debate is being held over the resumption of tourism”. Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz on Wednesday said that the intensity of coronavirus in the country is witnessing an increase as number of cases and death toll rises, media reported.
“Government has reviewed the situation on daily basis and lifted restrictions on movement in order to minimize its negative impact on lower segment of the society,” he said while addressing a presser. He lamented that majority of the people have not implemented on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) devised from the government and warned that if not implemented it could increase the intensity of coronavirus. The information minister said that even the established global economies were unable to deal with the pandemic as virus does not discriminate between anyone. “Even in Pakistan it has affected lawmakers and some of them even died of it,” he said while extending his condolence over the deaths.
He appealed to the masses that it is high time for them to implement upon the SOPs. “If not implemented properly, the government will be forced to implement a stricter lockdown,” he warned while adding that number of virus cases and deaths of it are still below the government’s estimates. Speaking on locusts’ issue, Shibli Faraz said that the government was involved in dealing with locusts attacks in parts of the country and termed it a grave danger for agriculture sector. “We have conducted spray in areas where it attacked harvest,” he said while detailing government efforts to counter it.
Lamenting Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, he said that the opposition leader in National Assembly ran away when NAB tried to arrest him and later emerged from a Lahore court to seek pre-arrest bail. “We are mulling over to place Shehbaz Sharif’s name on ECL,” he said and further asked the opposition leader as to why he refrained from joining National Assembly session out of coronavirus fear while asking his party lawmakers to attend it. He said that there is no future for Shehbaz Sharif and people of his likes in politics as they only want to hinder the accountability process in the country.