ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that the time has arrived to strictly implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19 and announced to personally monitor the effectuation of the government orders. PM Imran Khan, while addressing a press conference over the pandemic situation, said that the death rate was increasing due to COVID-19 in Pakistan which is more than its estimation. The premier said that the federal authorities were fully aware of the rise in coronavirus cases after lifting strict lockdown measures. He criticised the opposition leadership, saying that they were apparently willing to see the disasters of the pandemic by the spike in death toll and unstable economy. He slammed that the opposition leaders wanted to hide their corrupt practices and tried to cash the difficulties being faced by the country. “I am happy that my team guided me after holding a comprehensive consultation. My team has efficiently worked during the last three months with the consultations of all provinces. We were facing a lot of pressure, however, the team produced the best results in such a situation.” “Our opponents wanted to push the federal government to impose lockdown in the previous phase. I am grateful to Allah Almighty that we had not imposed lockdown measures like India. The imposition of curfew in India had badly affected around 84 per cent families, whereas, 34 per cent of families could not even survive for more than two weeks if they were not provided assistance. We have distributed cash payments among 12 million needy families under Ehsaas programme.” “I am saying this from the first day that the people should think about the poor families as lockdown would not affect wealthy people. We are saved from the severe consequences by not imposing the lockdown like India.” PM Imran Khan said that the time has arrived to strictly implement SOPs across the country as the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases will affect nationals and hospitals if precautionary measures were not followed. “There is a need for imposing smart lockdown here in Pakistan as a complete lockdown is not a solution.” The premier announced that he will personally monitor the implementation of SOPs and those areas will be closed where violations will be reported. He said that the one million volunteers of Corona Relief Tiger Force (CRTF) will assist the government for the implementation of orders. “The government is preparing a package for doctors and health workers. It is unfortunate that nobody paid attention to bring improvement in the health sectors for 70 years. Each hospital will send its data to assist the government in compiling an accurate record of the pandemic developments.” “At this time, 107 laboratories in Pakistan are conducting coronavirus tests. We have the capability to conduct 1.2 million tests on a monthly basis. Pakistan is now testing its locally-manufactured ventilator when the world is facing a shortage of it. The number of ventilators is increased up to more than 4,000 from 28 across the country, whereas, the government ordered 1,400 more ventilators.” PM Khan expressed fear that the death count due to coronavirus will further increase in Pakistan. He urged nationals to stand strong for fighting the pandemic. He said that the COVID-19 cases will also increase till July and the lives of patients of sugar and blood pressure will be compromised if the people failed to adopt the precautionary measures.