Asad Umar warns coronavirus may test Pakistan’s health system in coming weeks

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said on Sunday that the government was apprehensive that the coronavirus will test Pakistan’s health system in the coming weeks. 

The federal minister was briefing the media on the coronavirus situation in Pakistan where he thanked the public for adhering to the government’s safety precautions. Umar credited the government’s measures of banning public gatherings for bringing down the rate of the virus spreading but warned that it does not mean the toll may not rise further. 

However, the minister expressed the government’s concerns that the coming weeks can be difficult for the country’s health system. “The rate at which the infection is spreading, we are seeing that the limits of our health system will be tested in coming days,” he said, adding that the difference between the facilities, hospitals and quarantine zones being set up by the government and the spread of the coronavirus will diminish in the coming weeks. 

Umar said that the bans that the lockdown measures were not only hurting the poor but the affluent as well. He said that keeping this in mind, the government was working to formulate a strategy based on which an affected person or area is identified and that individual or place is quarantined so that it does not affect others. 

He said that Pakistan’s testing capacity was limited when the first cases were reported in the country but with each passing day, it was increasing. Umar said that Pakistan was taking special measures to protect the health professionals who were battling the coronavirus on the front lines.