PM Imran stresses on accurate statistics, verifying cause of death in COVID-19 meeting



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday again stressed on ensuring that accurate data were gathered and the causes of death of people who passed away during the coronavirus crisis be verified.

Chairing a meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Imran said emphasis should be given to correct data and information so that a strategy to combat the disease could be prepared accordingly. It was also important to ascertain whether a person died due to the novel virus or other natural causes, he added.

The premier said the government had allowed businesses to resume operations in a limited manner in light of the plight of the common person. It was important, however, for everyone to acknowledge and fulfill their responsibilities and practice social distancing as much as possible, he added.

He mentioned that wherever there were large gatherings, it should be ensured that people wore masks and adhered to the preventive measures as much as possible in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The PM advised that not only should the public be encouraged to take preventive measures but a comprehensive awareness campaign must be initiated in order to make sure that every person in their own capacity could ensure they and their families remained safe from the virus.

The entire country honoured the doctors, paramedics, and frontline health professionals who were engaged in the fight against the COVID-19, he said.

The media, on the other hand, had a crucial role to play in tackling the coronavirus in the sense that it needed to provide correct information to the public but also had a key role to play in fighting fake news and propaganda, the prime minister noted.

Among the participants of the meeting were Economic Affairs Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Food Security Minister Fakhar Imam, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to PM on Broadcasting and Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to PM on National Security Moeed Yusuf, and the premier’s focal person on COVID-19, Dr Faisal Sultan.

Umar, the planning minister, apprised the participants about the meeting of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) earlier today.

Dr Mirza and Sultan, SAPM on health and the focal person on coronavirus, respectively, informed about the current situation of the pandemic in Pakistan, the strategy on tracking, testing, and shifting patients to quarantine, and other affairs.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairperson Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal apprised the meeting on the safety precautions, especially the distribution of protective gear to the hospitals across the country to prevent and curb the coronavirus. The third batch of protective gear to be shipped to the provinces tomorrow (Friday), he added.

The meeting also pondered upon a strategy to curb coronavirus in light of the upcoming Ramazan. PM Imran, in this regard, said he would meet Ulema very soon in order to formulate a plan of action for the holy month under their guidance.

It was decided during the meeting that infectious diseases and quarantine centres, similar to the ones set up in Islamabad by the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) and equipped with 250 beds, should be set up across the country.

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