Staff Reporter Islamabad
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said on Saturday that Pakistan’s coronavirus situation could soon cross levels seen during the first wave in June last year, warning that if the surge in cases is not controlled, tougher restrictions will have to be imposed.
Umar was addressing a media briefing after chairing a session of the National Command and Operation Centre, which he also heads.
“If the increase continues at this rate then in the next few days or next week, we will go beyond the level and peak we saw in the first wave in June and you all must remember what the situation was at the time.”
He said he had already started getting messages that hospitals were nearing their full capacity so availability of beds might now become an issue.
“The reason behind sharing all this is not to create fear but to alert the nation so it can decisively act together and follow a plan of action to confront the challenge posed by Covid-19,” he said.
The minister said that while the government’s first priority was to protect people’s livelihoods from being affected by Covid-19 restrictions, the rise in cases was alarming and tougher restrictions would be necessary in case the trend continues.
“Our first effort is this (protection of livelihoods) but you’re seeing the speed with which this is continuing to spread.
If we don’t take immediate measures then such a situation can also develop that we have to do further restrictions.”
Pakistan is in the grips of a third coronavirus wave and reported 4,468 new coronavirus cases on Saturday. This marks the highest single-day increase since June 21, 2020.
In the same time period, the country recorded 67 fatalities from the virus, the majority of which, 48, were confirmed in Punjab.
“If the administration’s hands are strengthened then we will be successful in taking those measures to control this dangerous situation which is being born, but as I said, this will only be possible when we decide it as a nation.”