Sunday Apr 05 2020
Web Desk

Asad Umar warns coronavirus may test Pakistan's health system in coming weeks

Web Desk
Federal Minister Asad Umar. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said on Sunday that the government was apprehensive that the coronavirus will test Pakistan's health system in the coming weeks. 

Umar was briefing the media about the coronavirus situation in Pakistan at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) where he thanked the public for adhering to the government's safety precautions. The minister credited the government's measures of banning public gatherings for bringing down the rate of the virus spreading but warned that it does not mean the toll may not rise further. 

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"Had the steps [closures] not been taken, the disease would have spread at a much faster rate," he said. 

However, the minister expressed the government's concerns that the coming weeks can be difficult for the country's health system. "The rate at which the infection is spreading, we are seeing that the limits of our health system will be tested in coming days," he said, adding that the difference between the facilities, hospitals and quarantine zones being set up by the government and the spread of the coronavirus will diminish in the coming weeks. 

Umar said that the bans that the lockdown measures were not only hurting the poor but the affluent as well. He said that keeping this in mind, the government was working to formulate a strategy based on which an affected person or area is identified and that individual or place is quarantined so that it does not affect others. 

He said that Pakistan's testing capacity was limited when the first cases were reported in the country but with each passing day, it was increasing. Umar said that Pakistan was taking special measures to protect the health professionals who were battling the coronavirus on the front lines. 

The minister said that he could not predict whether the bans in place will increase or decrease after April 14. "Today, I cannot tell you whether the bans will increase or not from April 15," he said. "Those decisions will be taken this week."

He paid tribute to the doctors, nurses, armed forces personnel, NGOs and the people for coming to each other's aid in these testing times. "Insha'Allah, we will make it out of this difficult time," he concluded.