In a statement issued here today with reference to the WHO letter that is being referred to in the media,SAPM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza has said the Government was pursuing a holistic strategy to combat the coronavirus. The National Command and Operation Center, established under the auspices of National Coordination Committee for COVID-19 meets every morning at ministerial level and with the help of technical experts review the disease data and trends very minutely and take a holistic view of the situation along with the provinces and develop recommendations for the NCC that is chaired by the Prime Minister and participated by all the Chief Ministers and the Prime Minister of AJK he said. All decisions are made in NCC with consensus.
Pakistan is the fifth largest country in the world and largest country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region which consists of 22 countries. We are a low middle income country with 2/3rd population dependent on daily incomes. Conscious of the disease spread and mortality and having put in place a very robust national coordinating and decision making mechanism at the highest level we have made best sovereign decisions in the best interest of our people. We have to make tough policy choices to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods Dr. Zafar said. We have consciously but gradually eased generalized lockdowns but at the same time we have focused on enforcement of SOPs in shops, industry, mosques and public transport etc. Mask donning has been made compulsory in the country. Along with this we have developed a robust Tracing, Testing and Quarantine policy to identify hotspots and cordon-off them. Currently there are more than 700 such smart lock-downs in place. Other plank of our strategy is ramping up of our health system capacity to cater to the growing number of patients he said.
Our choice of policies has been guided by the best evidence available about the disease spread and our best assessment of the fast deteriorating socio-economic conditions in the country.
WHO is a UN specialized technical agency on health and they are our long standing partner in health including in this pandemic which we appreciate. We understand that it is their role to provide recommendations to member states but understandably theirs is the health-lens whereas governments have to take into account a holistic picture and make decisions on relative risk assessment basis and this has been the case in Pakistan all along the statement concluded.