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30,000 tests per day sufficient, says Asad

By Ikram Junaidi 2020-05-18
ISLAMABAD: As coronavirus cases surged past 41,000 mark, federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar expressed the view that the capacity of 30,000 tests per day would be sufficient for Pakistan to control the spread of the deadly virus.

`Currently we are in a position to hold over 25,000 tests per day and with every passing day our capacity to conduct tests is increasing. We hope that by the end of the month or at the start of next month we will be able to hold 30,000 tests per day,` he said while talking to Dawn on Sunday.

Around 14,000 tests were being conducted across the country on a daily basis, but it did not mean that the country could not hold more than 14,000 tests, the minister said while replying to a question.

`At the moment we have been getting most of the samples, for tests, from the tertiary care hospitals or from the travellers who cross the point of entries of Pakistan. We hope that health facilities, other than tertiary care hospitals, will also start collecting and sending samples soon due to which number of tests will be increased,` explained Mr Umar who chairs meetings of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19.

He said 30,000 daily tests wouldbe a sizeable number to ascertain the pace of spread and formulate future strategy accordingly.

On Saturday, the minister had announced that within two months [after the announcement of the lockdown], the number of daily tests was increased by 30 times.

Pakistan was holding less than 500 tests by the mid of March, but for the last few days over 14,000 tests are being conducted on a daily basis.

Over 1,570 new cases with 30 deaths were reported nationwide in a single day on Sunday. With these cases, the number of Covid-19 cases has crossed the 41,000 mark, while 11,341 of them have fully recovered from the disease.

Moreover, the NCOC data revealed that 319 patients were in critical condition while 8,680 patients were admitted to the 735 hospitals, which have Covid-19 facilities, across the country.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, who contracted the virus along with some of his family members, in a video statement thanked the nation for their prayers.

`I am thankful to the nation as members of my family have recovered due to their prayers. I just want to say that every person should follow the precautionary measures announced by the government as precaution and social distancing are the best weapons against the disease,` he said.

`I have confidence that under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, we will pass through this difficult time.

`Pakistan belongs to all of us and it is our collective responsibility to play our roles for its development, Mr Qaiser said.