In meeting, forum reviews ongoing operations to enforce SOPs designed to curb the spread of novel coronavirus
There are presently 102 laboratories conducting tests for COVID-19 across Pakistan, the National Command and Operation Center was informed on Tuesday, with four more facilities set to commence operations “soon.”
The forum was meeting to review the short-term, national action plan in the fight against the novel coronavirus, with an emphasis on shoring up facilities ahead of an expected surge of confirmed cases in the next eight weeks. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a nationally televised address that authorities expected the “peak” of infections in Pakistan to arrive either end-July or August.
According to a statement issued by the NCOC, the meeting primarily focused on enforcement measures for standard operation procedures (SOPs) introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19.
During the meeting, the forum was informed that local authorities have started taking strict action to ensure compliance with SOPs in markets, industries and public transport. Dedicated teams, reads the statement, have been deployed to ensure compliance with health guidelines.
According to the NCOC, 691 violations were reported Balochistan in the preceding 24 hours. As a result, authorities temporarily sealed 250 shops and fined and cautioned 92 vehicles over non-compliance with SOPs.
In Punjab, 769 shops, eight industries, and 776 vehicles were closed, fined and cautioned against 2,865 reported SOP violations.
Sindh has sealed shops and transport across the province, but the statement did not offer any concrete numbers on how many sectors had been impacted.
Some 7,351 SOP violations were reported in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, resulting in 302 shops, and 221 transports being cautioned or sealed. The province has also fined 1,933 individuals for not complying with SOP guidelines.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, 67 shops and 70 vehicles were fined or sealed against 270 violations of SOPs, while 101 violations were reported in Islamabad, resulting in 13 hotels, 24 shops, two industries and 36 vehicles being fined or sealed.
The forum was also informed that 422 SOP violations were observed in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, resulting in 112 shops and 85 vehicles fined or sealed.
The NCOC meeting also discussed a proposed incentive package for front-line healthcare workers, with the participants deciding they would secure feedback from doctors and other stakeholders before announcing it.
The forum was informed that as part of the government’s TeleHealth measures, 5,823 requests had been received for doctors’ advice on the service’s dashboard. It said that 188 doctors had carried out consultations of 1,374 patients via the portal thus far.
The World Health Organization this week wrote to the provincial health departments of all four provinces and urged them to ramp up testing to at least 50,000 tests/day, saying the country was testing far too less to accurately capture ground realities of the coronavirus pandemic.