‘Government to identify virus hotspots, implement smart lockdown through technology’


ISLAMABAD, MAY 10  –  The government is now identifying virus hotspots across the country with the help of data it has gathered and technology to ensure implementation of a smart lockdown, Planning Minister Asad Umar said.

When these areas where the virus has spread are identified, health teams will visit and monitor them to check if the entire area needs to be sealed or just specific lanes, he said in a briefing on Sunday.

The minister explained that this is done through a heat map of the country, which shows health officials which areas are most affected by the virus. “For example, presently, Karachi, Peshawar, Multan, Lahore and Quetta are some of the areas with the highest number of coronavirus patients,” he said.

So far, 177 areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 359 areas in Punjab have been sealed after they were declared “virus hotspots”.

Umar revealed that the government was preparing a web portal on which hospital across the country could log in and add their data. “It will include the number of coronavirus patients they have, the total number of beds and even ventilators,” he said, adding that through this, all COVID-19 data will be collected in one place.

He lauded the Punjab government for preparing an app that helps rescue services identify hospitals near them when they pick up a patient.

Umar emphasised that this will also help the government provide aid to people in these areas. “We have also collaborated with the National Rural Support Programme,” he said.

This mechanism is being developed because a countrywide lockdown is not possible as it will have drastic affects on daily wagers, he reiterated. “This, however, does not mean that all preventive measures will be lifted.”

The minister urged people to take responsibility for themselves as it was “more important now than ever” to prevent the virus from spreading.

Umar also lauded the efforts of all the doctors, paramedical staff and other frontline workers for their relentless work during the crisis.

Pakistan has reported its highest-ever one day increase of 2,000 cases in the virus on Sunday.