'Smart lockdown' helped reduce virus cases in Islamabad – officials

Special 'Smart lockdown' helped reduce virus cases in Islamabad – officials
A Muslim worshipper wearing a facemask prays during Friday prayers outside the closed gate of Jamia Mosque during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Rawalpindi on April 3, 2020.( AFP)
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Updated 20 June 2020
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'Smart lockdown' helped reduce virus cases in Islamabad – officials

'Smart lockdown' helped reduce virus cases in Islamabad – officials
  • The daily infection rate went down from 700 to a little over 300 within a matter of days, says the deputy commissioner
  • Doctors maintain hospitals in the federal capital are still working at full capacity to serve COVID-19 patients

ISLAMABAD: The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan’s federal capital has significantly decreased in the wake of the smart lockdown in the city, Islamabad’s Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat told Arab News on Friday.
“The number of virus infections reduced by 90 percent in the areas that were sealed last month,” he said. “Even now, the daily emergence of new cases is more than 300, but we have reduced it from 700 within a matter of days.”
Shafqaat added that smart lockdown would continue until the authorities managed to flatten the curve of the infectious respiratory disease in the federal capital.
Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) recorded 136 deaths caused by the novel coronavirus on Friday as the number of confirmed cases in the country went beyond 165,000.
With about 10,000 COVID-19 patients, Islamabad’s administration reported 304 new cases in the last 24 hours.
“We are strictly enforcing the officially prescribed measures to prevent the spread of the virus,” he continued. “However, we have a small team and it is hard to fully implement the precautionary procedures without public cooperation and support.”
The deputy commissioner informed that the COVID-19 hotspots were identified in the city by geotagging the positive cases.
“After data analysis was performed at the NCOC, the neighborhoods with rising number of cases were completely sealed,” he said.
He continued that no one was allowed to enter or exit the locked down areas without reason, adding that unnecessary movement of people was discouraged to reduce the transmission of the deadly pathogen.
Shafqaat noted that the spread of the disease in the federal capital was maximum six percent per day which was less than the country’s average.
“Our testing ratio is the best in the country since we are testing 3,000 people every day. More than 100,000 people have so far been tested in Islamabad which is almost equal to the number of tests performed by the entire province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). KP has also reported more than 20,000 positive cases while we have about 10,000 confirmed cases.”
Islamabad’s District Health Officer Dr. Muhammad Zaeem Zia said that smart lockdown relatively reduced the burden on health care system.
“COVID-19 was rapidly spreading in sectors G-9, I-8 and I-10, but smart lockdown helped us contain the problem to a great extent,” he told Arab News.
Zia added that COVID-19 teams were tirelessly working on sampling to identify hotspots and calculate results from areas under lockdown.
“The major purpose is to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection by stopping the movement of COVID-19 carriers,” Dr. Zia added.
The spokesperson of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Dr. Waseem Khawaja, endorsed the claim by saying: “The influx of COVID-19 patients in PIMS has reduced in the last couple of days due to the smart lockdown.”
He said that PIMS, Islamabad’s largest hospital, was working at full capacity due to the outbreak of the virus and intensive care units were fully occupied.
“The lockdown should continue since it will reduce the burden on our hospitals,” he added.