By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: The countrywide tally of coronavirus cases has surged to 125,933 with 40,247 patients having cured of the disease and 2,463 virus-related deaths, media reported on Friday.
According to data released by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), so far, 47,382 cases have been detected in Punjab, 46,828 in Sindh, 15,787 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 7,673 in Balochistan, 6,699 in Islamabad, 534 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 1,030 in Gilgit Baltistan,
With record 107 more Covid-19 related fatalities recorded over the past 24 hours, the number of people succumbing to the disease in the country has jumped to 2,463 so far.
A total of 6,397 new cases were detected when 28,247 new tests were conducted during this period.
The number of people defeating the deadly virus has reached 40,247. So far, 809,169 tests have been conducted across the country.
Earlier, on June 10, Special Assistant to PM on National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza had said the government is pursuing a holistic strategy to combat coronavirus. In a statement on Wednesday with reference to the WHO letter, he said: “We have made the best sovereign decisions in the best interest of our people. He said we have to make tough policy choices to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods.”
The government has prepared a comprehensive support package for frontline health workers fighting COVID-19. This was stated by Health Adviser Dr. Zafar Mirza while briefing the media about the upcoming package in Islamabad on Friday. He said the doctors, nurses and other paramedics who are working in emergencies, quarantine and isolation centers caring the patients of coronavirus are our national heroes and their protection is the main responsibility of the government.
He said the package has been prepared after a week-long consultation with health experts from all over the country. He said the federal and provincial governments will be responsible at their level to implement the package. The Health Adviser said the package consists of 7 points including financial support, security, training, care, healthcare, private health supports and recognition at national level.
He said tax exemption for frontline workers who embrace shahadat will be given package from 3 to 10 million rupees. He said the government will provide adequate PPEs to all frontline health workers responsible for COVID-19 patient care. He said security for hospitals and staff involved in COVID-19 patient care will also be ensured. He said PEMRA will lay down code of conduct for print and electronic media to refrain from character assassination of health workers.
The Adviser said the training will be given to them in critical care management of COVID-19 patients while the training program for rational use of PPEs will also be part of the “We Care Program”. He said under the package psycho-social support will be provided to these workers.
He said under the package, COVID-19 tests will be prioritized for infected workers and provided specialized medicines for them. Dr. Zafar Mirza said interest-free loans for private hospitals through the package of State Bank will be provided to ensure payment of salaries, while these hospitals will also be exempted from tax for import of equipment and accessories required for the establishment of critical care facilities.
The Adviser said the strategy is also under process to recognition including Honour and Awards on National days.
He said it is impossible to stop the spread of the virus without following the precautionary measures issued by the government Punjab province on Friday witnessed an increase of 1,919 COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours, raising the provincial virus tally to 47,382.
According to statistics provided by the provincial health department, 49 more people lost their lives in the province while battling COVID-19. The total number of patients who succumbed to the virus has reached 890 in the province.
The provincial capital of Punjab, Lahore reported more than half of the virus cases today as its tally went up to 971 today. The province has so far performed 327,072 virus tests. The number of recoveries in the province stands at 9,546.
Sindh on Friday reported 2,428 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections across the province to 49,256.
In a tweet, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said that death toll from COVID-19 is currently recorded at 793 with 17 more virus-related deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.
He maintained that the number of people recovered from the disease has risen to 23,113 while a total 277,054 tests have been conducted in the province thus far.
A protest by Grand Health Alliance is continued on the second day in Sindh due to which the outdoor patients’ departments (OPDs) are closed across the province.
The protestors have announced to continue their strike until their demands are fulfilled.
T he Grand Health Alliance (GHA) has demanded the provision of protective kits and health risk allowance to the health workers of the province.
They also demanded the martyrs’ package for the employees of the health department and establishment of isolation centers in all the hospitals of the province.
Their demands also include the provision of free treatment in the private hospitals of the province while they presented a 13-point charter of demand to the government of Sindh. The provincial government didn’t do any progress on the demands. The protestors said that they will continue their protest until their demands are fulfilled.
After rapid increase of coronavirus cases in Lahore, the Punjab government is considering to reimpose two-week lockdown in Lahore from Monday, sources said on Friday.
In this context, the final approval would be given by Prime Minister Imran Khan after consultation with the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
Medicines, grocery and other shops of important commodities would remain open during the two-week lockdown.
Sources further added that the provincial government has also decided to ensure strict implementation of the SOPs.
It is worth mentioning here that, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday had said that the time has arrived to strictly implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19 and announced to personally monitor the effectuation of the government orders.
PM Imran Khan, while addressing a press conference over the pandemic situation, had said that the death rate was increasing due to COVID-19 as the country is expected to witness its peak in July.
The premier had said that the federal authorities were fully aware of the rise in coronavirus cases after lifting strict lockdown measures.