• Says nation collectively committing a blunder by recklessly ignoring Covid-19 SOPs
• PM’s aide warns against a second wave of virus

ISLAMABAD: While mentioning that the coronavirus-related mortality has increased by 140 per cent, federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Tuesday warned the nation that it was collectively committing a blunder by recklessly ignoring all standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“Last week daily Covid mortality was 12. This is a 140pc increase vs few weeks back. We are collectively committing a blunder by recklessly ignoring all SOPs and the results have started to show,” tweeted the minister who heads the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19. He said: “If we do not change our current path we will lose both lives and livelihoods.”

Also, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan warned against a second wave of the contagion.

Earlier on Oct 11, the minister while explaining reason for enforcing ‘mini’ smart lockdowns in Islamabad, Karachi and Azad Jammu and Kashmir said that the positivity of cases, which had been found less than 2pc for the past six weeks, surpassed 2pc. Only four days later, Mr Umar disclosed that the positivity of Covid-19 cases was 2.37pc, which was the highest positivity in past more than 50 days. “Last time that level was seen on Aug 23,” he explained.

Since the outbreak of virus in Pakistan in February, the maximum nationwide positivity rate was recorded in June when within three weeks it jumped to 23pc from six per cent. It came down to the minimum 1.7pc last month.On Tuesday, SAPM on Health Dr Sultan said considering the recent number of cases, there was a possibility of second wave of Covid-19 as people had stopped taking precautionary measures.

He said vaccine trial was being conducted and enrolments were being done but it would take time to get results as data and results would be analyzed before arriving at some conclusion.

14 more die

Data released by NCOC on Tuesday showed that 14 patients lost lives due to Covid-19 during the past 24 hours and total number of active cases that had dropped to around 6,000 last month resurged to 9,461 on Oct 20.

Besides, out of total 1,884 ventilators allocated for Covid-19 patients, as many as 80 ventilators were in use and there was no patient on vent in Balochistan and AJK.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2020