Asad Umar credits masses for decline in COVID-19 cases


ISLAMABAD : Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar credited the people of Pakistan on Tuesday for the decline in COVID-19 cases, saying that they were the “real heroes” whose cooperation with the government had led to the drastic reduction in the infection.

“Whatever the steps taken by the state and the government could not have been effective if the public had not cooperated with us,” he said. ” A large part of the society helped the government. I would like to thank the media as well for sending our message to the public on what to do [to ward off the coronavirus],” he added.

The minister said that the government and the people had taken the right decisions and actions when it came to tackling the pandemic. He praised the smart lockdown initiative, stating that developed countries could also not shut down the economy for a longer period of time.

‘We cannot say coronavirus has ended’

The federal minister warned people not to take the coronavirus situation lightly, adding that he had heard people saying the COVID-19 pandemic had been eliminated.

“Ever since this announcement [lifting lockdown restrictions] was made, I have been hearing from people that coronavirus has been ended. I wish coronavirus would have been eliminated,” he said. “However, unfortunately, the situation is not like that at the moment. We can’t say at this moment that coronavirus has been eliminated,” added the minister.

Referring to a study by the Imperial College London about the coronavirus referring to the large number of deaths by the coronavirus in the country, he said that only 15 people died from the infection on Monday as opposed to the thousands predicted by college.

He said that the provinces, Centre, the armed forces and other institutions collaborated to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with the virus in April.

“Due to it [contact tracing strategy] we were able to reach people who were at most risk of catching the infection,” he said. “Through this contract tracing system, we were able to trace 1.1mn contacts out of which 1mn tests were conducted and 10.5% was the positivity ratio of those who were tested,” Umar explained.

The minister said that the government reached out to more than 100,000 positive cases through the contact tracing system and were able to let them know that they were infected with the virus.

He said that not only did the tracing system led to a decline in the number of COVID-19 deaths but it also made people isolate themselves, leading to a decline in the spread of the infection.