After taking all the provinces on board, Federal Minister for Planning, Growth and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that a decision on whether or not to ease the currently imposed nationwide lockdown would be made. “After a meeting of the National Coordination Committee the government will settle on its post-May 9 policies,” Umar told the Islamabad media on Sunday. The federal minister said the decision to ease the lockdown will be taken in such a way as not to paralyze the healthcare system in the country. “Restrictions must be progressively relaxed in the country to provide people with a livelihood.”
He said, “We’ve expanded the efficiency of our healthcare system significantly. We currently have 1,400 ventilators for patients with coronavirus and, in two months, 900 more will be added. There are actually 35 patients with coronavirus on the ventilators. Umar added that the country now had the capacity to produce medical equipment, and it would soon start domestic ventilator development.
“The country has 55 functional laboratories, and we have the capacity to conduct more than 14,000 daily coronavirus tests,” he said, adding that the monitoring, tracking and quarantine system had become functional.
Speaking of the increase in the death toll of the world over the past couple of days, Umar said the world was reporting a death or two a day at the beginning of the pandemic, whereas now that’s gone up dramatically. “The last six days have seen an average of 24 deaths in the world,” he noted. “This is not good news and it shows just how important precautionary practice is,” Umar remarked.
He added, “This number will probably increase in May but won’t get out of hand. The Government has increased its capacity for testing. Our research capability today is much better than it was two months ago. We have the ability to do 20,000 tests every day right now.
The minister emphasized yet again that the pandemic situation was not as severe as it had been in Europe and the United States. “The fatality rate in Pakistan is much lower than in the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain,” he said, emphasizing the need for the people to take precautionary steps to curb the spread of the virus. He added that the lockdown’s economic effect on Pakistan’s economy was much more severe than that of Western countries.
“There have been thousands of deaths in Europe and even those countries are now cautiously lightening sanctions, because even those countries realize they can’t shut it down indefinitely,” he said.