Pakistan SOP market Peshawar
Pakistani officials visit a market to check the standard operating procedures imposed by the government to control the spread of the new coronavirus, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, June 26, 2020. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday reported more than 195,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 3,962 deaths yet the Minister in charge of anti-COVID-19 measures described the situation as being under control and the number of the virus infections less than predicted by the end of June.

While addressing a news conference, Minister for Planning Asad Umar said that the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC), after reviewing recent COVID-19 figures, had come to the conclusion that the number of nationwide tally of the coronavirus cases by the end of June would be 225,000 or less.

“This is quite promising and proves that if everyone performs [their] duty on an individual level while the government does its job on a communal and collective level, a significant success in curbing the spread can be seen”, Umar said.

“We feared more than 300,000 cases by the end of the current month but the virus spread has slowed down registering a downward trend,” the Minister added.

NCOC guidelines worked

On May 30, a guideline was issued by the NCOC to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus making it compulsory to wear a mask at crowded places.

A week later, on June 4, the NCOC issued directives to the provinces to take administrative action in order to implement the standard operating procedures (SOPs) laid out by the government. The provinces share data with the NCOC twice a week, Umar said.

Smart lockdown still in place

On June 14, the NCOC asked the provinces to expand ‘smart lockdown’ that has been still in place and the body pointed out the ‘hotspots’ — areas where a cluster of cases had been detected — in 20 major cities which needed to be sealed.

Most people have realized their responsibility though not everyone had and as a result, the government had to take some administrative measures, according to the minister.

Former PM Abbasi tests negative

Senior Vice President of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ex-Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has recovered from coronavirus after spending 18 days in isolation at his house.

According to the family members of the ex-premier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s test report came negative and he is fast recovering.

Shahid Khaqan will take part in the ongoing National Assembly’s debate on budget 2020-21 and will attend the assembly session on Monday, said a leader of the PML-N.

Federal Minister for Information Technology & Telecommunication Ameenul Haq also tested negative on Friday. In a statement the minister announced his coronavirus report has tested negative after a period of 19 days in quarantine. He thanked all those who wished him health and prayed for his early recovery. It is to be mentioned here that a day earlier, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was also discharged from the Military Hospital after his report came negative.