Faisal Sultan warns against complacency, underscores need for masks
Coronavirus cases are rising, said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan in a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services. “The daily average was below 2% but has now risen to 2.47%.”
He said 600 cases are being reported daily compared to the daily average of 400 a few days ago. A total of 19 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, which is alarming, he added.
“We have directed the provincial governments to take strict measures,” said Sultan. SOPs are not being followed at wedding halls, markets and on public transport, he said, adding that 90% prevention is possible by surgical masks. He also emphasised the importance of N-95 masks for health workers.
“The health secretary [Aamir Ashraf Khwaja] is a bit under the weather,” he said. “But he will definitely attend the committee’s next meeting.”
Speaking of the Global Fund, Sultan said changes have been made to the posts of vertical programmes on the Fund’s reservations. He added that a grant of $300 million is a serious commitment.
“We thought that we as a nation had won this battle,” said Sultan. “But we still have to show responsibility.”
Minister for Planning Asad Umer said on October 20 that coronavirus positivity was extremely high in Muzaffarad and Karachi, and was rising in Lahore and Islamabad.
The minister said the COVID-19 mortality rate had increased by 140% with 12 reported deaths. He said the people were “collectively committing a blunder” by not following the SOPs and also warned of taking “restrictive actions that have negative effects on people’s livelihoods”.
According to the government, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan is 324,744, with 660 cases reported in the last 24 hours alone.