Smart lockdown move yielded positive results

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The prime minister was the first one to advocate for smart lockdowns. Countries around the world, Umar said, have realized that it is simply unsustainable to shut entire nations. “The only way is to identify high-density hotspots and target them accordingly 

DNA

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s decision to impose smart or selective lockdowns in hotspot areas is yielding desired results.

Country reports a 28% reduction in critical cases due smart lockdowns and implementation of SOPs

As countries around the world juggle with strategies to flatten the Covid-19 curve, Pak strategy won an unexpected endorsement from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In a subtle acknowledged on Twitter, Guterres said that there is no choice between health or jobs in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. “They are interlinked. We will either win on all fronts or fail on all fronts,” said the UN Secretary-General.

According to data collected by The Express Tribune, a significant reduction in the number of positive cases has emerged as the country crossed the 100-day mark in its fight against the respiratory disease which has claimed more than 5,000 lives.

“Smart lockdowns, a stronger enforcement effort, compliance of SOPs and the nationwide change in the behavior can be credited for the current gains in the fight against the Covid-19 virus,”

reduction was recorded in the number of critical cases as a result of the selective lockdowns and implementation of SOPs introduced by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

The strategy

“The prime minister was the first one to advocate for smart lockdowns. Countries around the world, Umar said, have realized that it is simply unsustainable to shut entire nations. “The only way is to identify high-density hotspots and target them accordingly.”

As long as the hotspot areas are taken out of the whole network, the minister said, the cumulative impact is reduced. “That coupled with behavioral change has helped Pakistan in controlling the contagion,” he claimed.

The concept of smart lockdowns, when presented by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was fiercely opposed.

But as the country appears to be on course to flatten the Covid-19 curve, its strategy is being endorsed by a number of developed nations. Germany, Italy, and Portugal are now considering local shutdowns to prevent a new surge of coronavirus infections. More and more countries are shutting down smaller regions as opposed to bringing their entire nations to a halt.

Despite receiving flak from all corners, the prime minister stuck to his guns. He supported the smart lockdown strategy over nationwide shutdowns to prevent the spread of the disease and protect people below the breadline from economic hardship.

The policy, experts believe, appears to have been validated by a recent report by Oxfam. The leading UK-based charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty warned that the Coronavirus pandemic could kill more people through hunger than the disease itself. “Many people in middle-income countries who were on the breadline are also said to have been tipped over the edge by the health crisis,” said Oxfam.

Through the NCOC, the government has implemented a series of measures. In total, the government’s central response unit has imposed more than 500 smart lockdowns to control the disease from spreading.

“So far, we imposed 551 smark lockdowns across the country,” said one senior official at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which serves as the nation’s nerve centre in the battle against Covid-19. In total, 8.2million are currently under lockdown,” he revealed.

Active campaigns coupled with the smart lockdowns, the NCOC official said, have helped Pakistan in flattening the Covid-19 curve, which has infected more than 247,000 people.

According to Umar, the NCOC is now focused on the quality of smart lockdowns across the country. “We will spend more time focusing on improving the quality of lockdowns,” the minister said.