ISLAMABAD: The new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) killed 156 more people on Saturday taking the death toll to 3,436 and the infected cases to 174,676 with addition of 6,604 cases.
Of the 176,676 confirmed cases, Sindh reported 67,353 cases, Punjab 64,216, Balochistan 9,328, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 21,444, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) 1,253, Islamabad 10,279, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 803.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) 63,504 affected persons have recovered so far across Pakistan making it a significant count since the pandemic spread.
Around 31,681 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours, while there was no patient on the ventilator in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan (GB).
Around 549 ventilators were occupied across the country.
The centre said as many as 156 people had died during the last 24 hours making it the highest count in a single day till the spread of the virus in the country.
A total of 1,042,787 tests have been conducted so far and 810 hospitals were equipped with Covid facilities with 6,980 patients admitted across the country.
The centre also reviewed the imposition of smart lockdown in the hotspot areas and compliance of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) by the people across the country.
The meeting, chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, was updated in this regard by the chief secretaries.
Asad Umar suggested that the provincial governments should issue a notification stating that private organizations and corporations should not take any punitive action against their employees living in the areas under smart lockdown for not attending offices.
All efforts and measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic would show results after 15 days whereas the provincial governments should ensure implementation of smart lockdown with strict compliance of the SOPs by the people, he added.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary said around 500,000 people had been restricted under the smart lockdowns implemented in various localities across the province, with main focus on urban areas of Peshawar, Malakand, Swat, Haripur, Nowshera and Mardan.
“There was no high risk of spread of the coronavirus in other seven districts, including Kohistan and Upper Chitral,” he added.
The Punjab chief secretary informed the meeting that eight main cities were under the lockdown, with less than a million population restricted.
He said over 80 percent compliance of wearing masks at public places was witnessed; however, the administration was trying strict enforcement of all the SOPs.
Some 12,000 transport owners were fined for violating the SOPs and health guidelines, he added.
The Sindh chief secretary told the meeting that almost 24 districts with a population of 5 million were put the smart lockdown.
The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) chief secretary said 59 smart lockdowns had been imposed in the valley, where the public compliance of the SOPs had improved.
The district administrations were providing free masks to the people if found without wearing the same.
The Gilgit Baltistan chief secretary informed the forum that the deputy commissioners had been authorized to impose lockdown in the areas with high number coronavirus positive cases.
The public was complying with the SOPs, he added.
The NCOC meeting also reviewed implementation of the National Coordination Committee’s decisions, availability of oxygen cylinders, and need assessment of critical medical equipment and their import keeping in view the disease projections.
The centre said over 9,305 violations of health guidelines were noted during the last 24 hours across Pakistan.
In consequence of violations, more than 839 markets and shops, and three industrial units were sealed and 1,522 transporters were fined and sealed as per the violation.
In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), 683 violations were reported and in response 73 markets and shops and one industry was closed and sealed, while 285 transport vehicles were fined.
In Gilgit Baltistan, 267 violations of health guidelines were observed, 64 markets and shops were closed and sealed and 127 transport vehicles were fined as per violations.
In KP, 4,684 violations were observed where in consequence 167 markets and shops were closed and 115 transport vehicles were fined as per the violation.
In Punjab, a total of 2287 violations were recorded whereas in consequence 368 markets and shops were closed, two industrial units were sealed and 987 transport vehicles were fined as per the violation.
In Sindh, 681 violations were noted whereas 70 markets and shops were closed and eight transport vehicles were fined as per the violation.
In Balochistan, 703 violations were observed where 97 markets and shops were closed as per the violation.
Meanwhile, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal visited Muzaffarabad where he was apprised about the corona situation and the steps taken by the government to tackle it.
AJK Health Minister Dr Najeeb Naqi Khan and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.
Chairman NDMA said 20 beds would be provided with oxygen supply at the Combined Medical Hospital, Muzaffarabad.
Lt Gen Afzal said 60 ICU beds would be provided to three hospitals in Azad Kashmir, while 30 cardiac monitors and 8 portable X-ray machines would also be forwarded to Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, the Sindh government Spokesperson and Adviser to CM on Law and Environment Murtaza Wahab Saturday tested positive becoming the latest victim among the high-profile government functionaries who have contracted the infection.
According to details, Murtaza Wahab underwent a test after experiencing virus symptoms and on Saturday his test reports for the virus came out positive.
It is pertinent to mention here that at least 26 provincial lawmakers have contracted the virus so far.