Govt’s policies ensured protection of poor during pandemic: PM

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As the cases of Omicron declined in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that the government ensured protection of economically weaker segments through its policy of smart lockdown instead of going for complete shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides the worldwide appreciation of the government’s policies of tackling the Coronavirus, the people also extended full support to the implementation of COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), he added.

The prime minister was presiding over a high-level meeting to review measures to check Coronavirus in the country.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Special Assistants to PM Dr Faisal Sultan, Shehbaz Gill, National Coordinator of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Maj Gen Zafar Iqbal and senior officials were in attendance.

The prime minister said that when people from across the world were protesting against lockdown, masses in Pakistan not only followed the SOPs and fully supported the government’s smart lockdown measures but also cooperated in getting them vaccinated.

It was due to the government’s relief and measures that industrial and other economic activities had a minimum impact from COVID-19, he pointed out.

The prime minister appreciated the sacrifices and services of the frontline health workers, adding that the Pakistani nation would never forget the sacrifices of doctors and frontline health workers.

The meeting was briefed in detail about the wave of Omicron in the country as well as its spread in the region and world.

It was told that after the wave of Omicron touched peak worldwide in January, it has started to decline, but the number of cases in Europe and America was still high. India was at the top in terms of deaths due to Coronavirus in the region, where around 1000 people were dying on daily basis.

The meeting was told that due to the government’s measures to ensure strict implementation of COVID SOPs, the cases of Omicron in Pakistan were declining.

Besides, it was further told that with a 6.8 per cent decline in COVID positive cases after February 10, the admission of Omicron patients in the hospitals’ intensive care units (ICUs) had also registered a 71% decrease as compared to the 4th wave.

No increase in hospital admissions and the need for ICUs was also a positive trend, it was told.

The meeting was told that due to the new wave of Coronavirus, 42 people were dying in Pakistan per day on an average basis.

About the progress on vaccination, the meeting was told that with 90 million (58%) out of the 150 million population having the age of over 12 years fully vaccinated, the number would rise to 110 million (72%) by March 2022.

The meeting was told that Punjab was on top in terms of the pace of vaccination followed by Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and other areas. Besides the future strategy regarding vaccination, various proposals were also presented before the meeting to encourage the frontline health workers.

The prime minister while appreciating the performance of NCOC and the Ministry of National Health Services directed to ensure the implementation of SOPs and further quicken the pace of vaccination.

Pakistan, on Friday, reported 3,498 fresh cases of COVID-19 during the past 24 hours, lifting the overall number of confirmed cases to 1,477,573.

According to the NCOC, a total of 58,077 samples were tested, out of which 3,498 turned out to be positive, showing an infection rate of 6.02 per cent as compared to the previous day’s 7.1 per cent.


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