ISLAMABAD: Decision-makers need accurate data for tackling the coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday at a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre convened to review measures to cope with the disease during Ramazan.
The meeting decided to establish quarantine facilities in all major cities across the country to treat Covid-19 patients.
“The prime minister was concerned over media reports that a few hundred people have died in just one hospital in Karachi over the last one week and a recent statement by the Edhi Welfare Trust that it has received more than 300 bodies over the last 15 days. So he ordered compilation of accurate data about Covid-19 patients and the number of deaths,” a participant told Dawn.
The prime minister said the authorities concerned should know the area-wise spread of the disease so that policy-makers, doctors and care-givers could assess the magnitude of the task on their hands.
The source quoted the prime minister as saying: “We must know the number of fatalities in a given area and the cause of death so that every death is not accounted for as that from Covid-19.”
Mr Khan directed the authorities concerned to build a facility in every major city of the country on the lines of a 250-bed quarantine centre in Islamabad, established by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).
Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, apprised the meeting about the tracking, testing and quarantine facilities. available in the country. He dwelt on the number of coronavirus patients and the number of deaths and projections about the disease.
Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), informed the meeting about arrangements being made for distribution of medical equipment to hospitals handling coronavirus cases.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction over reopening of some low-risk businesses, but advised the nation not to lower its guard and stick with precautionary measures. “People must maintain social distancing and in case they go to crowded places they must wear masks.”
He also stressed the need for launching an awareness campaign, especially for people in remote areas, about steps they should take to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Mr Khan was briefed about a plan being prepared for educating the public about precautions to be followed while attending congregational prayers during Ramazan.
“The prime minister intends to call a meeting of leading ulema to thrash out guidelines in this regard,” the source said.
He lauded the services rendered by doctors and paramedical staff to cope with the epidemic, describing them as “Mujahids in the war against coronavirus”.