Staff Reporter ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has advised people to not repeat “what they did on Eid-ul-Fitr” and exercise extra caution ahead of Eid-ul-Azha so a resurgence of coronavirus can be avoided. The premier, while speaking to the media at the inauguration ceremony of Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Centre, said that Pakistan’s curve of infections is “flattening”. “I appeal to my people not to do again what they did on the previous Eid. Any public gathering can become a cause for the spread of the virus and would ultimately put pressure on hospitals, doctors, and nurses besides causing deaths,” PM Imran said. He added: “I request people to celebrate this Eid with simplicity. The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Eid have been formulated. For the sake of the economy and well being of old-aged people and already ailing people, it is essential to observe Eid with simplicity.” He was also accompanied by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Asim Saleem Bajwa while Chairman National Disaster Management Authority Lt. Gen Muhammad Afzal and Brigadier Asim of the Authority briefed him on the project. Spread over a 40-Kanal land, the 250-bed pre-fabricated facility is fully equipped to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It contains all modern medical equipment, including five intensive care units (ICU), isolation wards, ventilators, CCTV cameras, nurse calling systems, as well as maiden E-ICU facility to allow doctors from abroad to treat the patients through telemedicine. The Chinese government had provided $4 million for the construction of the facility. The prime minister said that the effective measures collectively taken by the provinces, as advised by the NCOC, had amazingly led to the flattening of the coronavirus curve even before the projected time frame. He said while the infection rate is on a downward trend, it could also surge again if the people showed negligence and violated the SOPs. Lauding the tremendous work by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for completion of the facility in a record 100-day period, he said the completion of such a specialised hospital manifested the political will of the government to carry out the challenging task in a difficult time.In his remarks, the NDMA chairman thanked the governments of Pakistan and China, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Yao Jing for extending their full cooperation to complete the mega task. During the briefing, the prime minister was told that the hospital would be operated through public-private philanthropic partnerships for an interim period of up to December 2020 when it would cost around Rs 300 million. Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar had earlier shared details regarding the prime minister’s visit to the isolation facility.
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