Govt to increase COVID-19 tests to 20,000 per day | Pakistan Today

Govt to increase COVID-19 tests to 20,000 per day

–Firdous says despite govt instructions, public is not complying with social distancing rules

SIALKOT: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday sought support from the opposition to combat Covid-19, saying that “no government can defeat such a challenge without the opposition’s help”.

This is the second time that the government has called for unity among benchmarkers from both sides of the aisle to combat the epidemic. It had done so earlier in March as well when it sought suggestions from opposition announcing that those would be incorporated in the national roadmap being devised to handle the situation.

Addressing a press conference in Sialkot, Firdous said she is disappointed over the masses’ “failure to grasp the seriousness” of the threat posed by the epidemic.

“While the government was doing its job, the public was still not fulfilling its responsibility and was not practicing social distancing,” she said.

Pakistan’s coronavirus toll currently stands at 13,144 after the emergence of 435 new cases today. Some 272 deaths have been reported so far. At least 2,936 people have completely recovered, according to the national database. Domestic as well as international observers believe, despite all-out efforts by the government to contain the spread and announcements in this regard, the public response is “disappointing and careless”.

Firdous also urged the implementation of the 20-point plan, pertaining to the holding of congregational prayers, agreed with clerics, and said that the government will “ensure mosques do not become virus hotspots”.

Commenting upon the testing capacity, she said that the government aims to increase the country’s testing capacity to 20,000 tests daily by May.

According to her, the increase in the number of patients was also due to increased testing capacity. “We started with some 472 tests a day, now we conduct between 7,000 to 8,000 tests daily. More tests mean a higher number of patients,” Firdous said.

She added that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) also aimed to increase the number of testing labs across the country from 40 to 60 through public-private partnerships.

The SAPM also reassured doctors that the provincial governments are working on incorporating their recommendations to battle the virus.

“I want to tell doctors that you are our most important soldiers in the war against corona and only through your help can we fight and win this war. The government has to ensure your protection and a conducive environment for you,” she said.

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