Pak PM says COVID-19 cases expected to peak by end of July, August as tally rises to 105,637

Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad, Jun 8 (PTI) Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that the coronavirus epidemic is expected to peak in Pakistan in the next two months, as the number of the COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 105,637.

'We already know that the virus will spread. The trend that our experts have observed is that it spreads, then peaks and then the curve flattens,” Khan said while addressing the nation.

'Our cases are expected to peak by the end of July or August, and then transmission will reduce. So, today I appeal to you, not for me, for you that please take precautions for your loved ones, for the elderly and for those who have other diseases,” he said.

He said the majority of people were flouting rules, thinking the virus was just a common flu. 'If we continue to ignore standard operating procedures, then we are putting the lives of the vulnerable people in danger,' he warned.

Khan said that if the people followed the standard operating procedures and took precautionary measures, Pakistan can easily manage the pandemic.

'Please wear masks, this is very important. The world has realised that masks can prevent the spread of the virus by up to 50 per cent. Secondly, when you venture into public places, follow the guidelines that have been issued by the government,” he said.

Khan has said that the entire world had understood that lockdowns are not a solution to COVID-19. 'When a country imposes lockdown restrictions, the spread of the virus is slowed down,” he said.

He said that Pakistan was a poor country and that “we had no choice but to reopen the country”.

Khan's remarks came as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 105,637 on Monday after new infections were reported.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and incumbent Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad were tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday, making them the latest amongst the country's top politicians to contract the virus.

Abbasi, who is the Senior Vice President of the PML-N, served as the prime minister from August 2017 to May 2018 after his party leader Nawaz Sharif was de-seated by a court ruling in a corruption case.

He has gone into self-isolation at his house after receiving a positive COVID-19 test report on Monday, his party officials said.

Railways Minister Ahmad was tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a statement by his office.

'Sheikh Rashid has tested positive for COVID-19,' the statement said, adding that he has gone into self-isolation and will remain in quarantine for two weeks as per doctors' advice.

At least four lawmakers, including a provincial minister, have died due to coronavirus in Pakistan.

So far 38,903 cases have been reported in Punjab, 39,555 in Sindh, 14,006 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 6,516 in Balochistan, 5,329 in Islamabad, 932 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 396 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. So far 2,108 people have died due to the virus.

More than 34,000 patients have fully recovered. The authorities have conducted a total 705,833 tests including 22,650 in the last 24 hours.

Planning Minister Asad Umar told the media that the government was focusing to improve the healthcare system of the country by providing essential equipment to hospitals.

He said the federal government will ensure provision of one thousand ICU beds to hospitals during this month. PTI SH ZH ZH