COVID Watch | October 24th 2020

-COVID19 positivity ratio increased by 40% over the course of the past 5 days, reveals NCOC -WHO mission lauds Pakistan's efforts in controlling the pandemic -Former SAPM on Health Zafar Mirza urges increasing testing capacity, & more rapid antigen testing


Pandemic gaining intensity in the country

On Friday, October 23, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) noted that the COVID-19 situation in Pakistan is intensifying and there is an evident reemergence in coronavirus. The case positivity ratio has seen a 40% increase over the course of five days, especially in the cities of Muzaffarabad, Hyderabad, Karachi, and Gilgit.

Similarly, the death rate and the number of hospital admissions are also inclining. The coronavirus positivity rate reached 2.58 percent on October 21, the highest in the past two months. If the public continues to violate standard operating procedures (SOPs), the body announced that it will be forced to reinstate strict measures, particularly lockdowns.

Revival of strict measures following violation of SOPs

Provincial Minister of Punjab for Law and Social Welfare, Basharat Raja, declared that if the public continues to contravene SOPs despite the government’s constant appeal not to do so, there will be no other recourse than to enforce extreme measures. He posited that because of the government’s untiring efforts, the pandemic situation was brought under control but as people continue to ignore SOPs, a resurgence in COVID-19 has been observed.

To contain the spread of the virus, micro smart lockdowns have been implemented in nearly 774 areas of Punjab, and new SOPs have been issued for places like markets and marriage halls.

WHO mission shares its findings on Pakistan’s COVID-19 situation

On Friday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minster on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan conducted a debriefing session for an Eastern Mediterranean Region World Health Organisation (WHO) mission on the impact and response of the Pakistani government to the contagion. The mission reviewed Pakistan’s efforts in curbing the coronavirus through disease surveillance, risk management, community engagement, and reinforcing the health sector. The mission lauded the efforts of the federal and provincial governments’ response to the global health crisis.

Increase in testing needed urgently urges former SAPM on Health

On Friday, former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza warned that the highly infectious coronavirus disease could spread rapidly in the upcoming winter season. Accordingly, he urged the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) to increase the country’s testing capacity and to utilize rapid antigen testing which can detect virus clusters more precisely. This, together with smart lockdowns, can assist the government in reducing the COVID-19 transmissions.