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NCC to announce lockdown strategy to fight COVID-19: Asad Umar

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar announced that the sixth meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) is going to be held tomorrow (Wednesday) which will be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the current situation of coronavirus pandemic, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

Asad Umar was addressing a press conference alongside Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza in Islamabad today.

The minister announced that the authorities will hold meetings on a daily basis at National Command Centre which will be attended by the representatives of federal government and provinces to review coronavirus situation.

Read: PM Imran Khan expresses anger over flour shortage

“All provinces are given representation to enhance coordination among Centre and provinces. COVID-19 is a global issue and Pakistan is also fighting a war against the pandemic. If we avoid lockdowns and restrictions, then there are risks for further spread of the disease. The government is mulling over solutions to end chances of hunger and poverty among nationals through a solid strategy.”

Umar urged to fulfil the financial needs of the people besides overcoming coronavirus pandemic, otherwise, there would be no benefit by imposing restrictions. He added that all efforts were being made after putting aside all political associations.

He detailed that Utility Stores Corporation (USC) has been given Rs50 billion funds to ensure supplies of essential commodities and further measures were underway to fulfil needs of the nationals living in far-flung areas of the country.

Read: Pakistan’s coronavirus cases reach 1,865, death toll 25

“PM Imran Khan has ordered to give special attention over flour and released directives to the chief secretaries of all provinces regarding the wheat crops. There is no shortage of flour in Pakistan and people must avoid hoarding essential goods.

“The meeting to be chaired by the premier will be attended by chief ministers. A strategy will be finalized in the upcoming session regarding lockdown and restrictions to contain COVID-19. Nationals will be apprised the duration and other details of the lockdown.”

Umar said 12 million families will be given Rs12,000 under the relief mechanism devised by the federal government.

Read: PM announces relief package, youth force, public fund to fight COVID-19

Elaborating the government’s initiatives for COVID-19 testing, Umar announced that the number of laboratories for coronavirus screening will be increased to 32 across the country as the authorities are consistently making efforts to strengthen screening capabilities. He added Pakistan will take its COVID-19 testing capacity to 900,000 till April 15.

“It is our top priority to protect medical staff and their requirements are being fulfilled by the federal government,” said the minister.

The minister also advised nationals not to treat COVID-19 patients like criminals. He said the patients are human beings and need your attention. Umar added that the affected people will hesitate to tell about infection if they were mistreated.

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