Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar said on Friday that according to the latest projections the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan may rise to 225,000 by the end of the current month, warning the people that the threat from the pandemic was far from over.
Addressing the media along with Information Minister Shibli Faraz, Asad Umar said that as per an earlier estimate, 300,000 cases were expected nationwide till June 30.
He said that when the number of COVID-19 cases surged, people started following preventive measures.
“There were two weeks when the big hospitals in major cities faced pressure,” he said, cautioning that if the SOPs are not followed then the situation can deteriorate.
The government has increased its facilities with more beds and ventilators, which gives us hope for the coming days, said Umar.
The minister said that they took into consideration experts' opinions and implemented a smart lockdown in areas with a higher number of COVID-19 cases.
Paying tribute to the healthcare workers and those on the frontlines fighting the pandemic, he said, "Doctors and paramedical staff are busy for our protection.
"It is our responsibility to help the front-line workers by playing our part. It is not a very difficult thing to do, we just need to have a sense of responsibility. If we do this, our health system would not be paralysed," he added.
Collectively, it is in our hands to fight the virus while listening to health experts and their advice, he said.
The minister stated that the smart lockdown was implemented from mid-May in 20 cities where the pandemic seemed to be spreading rapidly.
Asad Umar said that fortunately, things seemed to be in control at the moment.
“This has given us a lesson that we can control the situation if we want to by taking the required measures on time. I have given directions for data collection for the coming months of July and August and will take decisions according to it.”
PM Imran: Coronavirus peak expected end of July
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the cases of the deadly coronavirus in Pakistan would hit a peak by the end of July or start of August.
In his address, he also warned of "a very difficult time" ahead if people continued to ignore the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Appealing to the citizens to follow precautionary measures, PM Imran said not following the precautionary measures "will cause harm to the country".
The lockdown to curb the spread of the respiratory illness does not end it but only slows it down, the premier explained.
As of today, Pakistan recorded 195,745 cases of the virus with more than 3,900 deaths.