ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday warned that strict action will be taken against those found to be violating the government's standard operating procedures (SOPs) for curbing the spread of the coronavirus, as the country recorded over 6,000 new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day, increasing the overall cases to 123,493.
In his address to the nation about the country's coronavirus situation, Khan detailed the steps the government will now take to address the growing number of cases.
He said that he would himself monitor the implementation of the official SOPs and warned of strict action for violating them.
The coronavirus cases in Pakistan on Thursday rose to 123,493 while the deaths climbed to 2,409.
Pakistan currently ranks among the top 10 countries in the world reporting the highest number of new cases of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organisation.
The international body has advised the government to enhance daily testing capacity to 50,000 to assess the actual prevalence of coronavirus across the country.
Khan addressed the nation after the country recorded over 6,000 cases for the second consecutive day amidst reports that people were openly flouting the guidelines since the lockdown was lifted.
Khan said that he would daily get the reports and the administration would take action for violations.
"Today I have a report from Punjab and Sindh regarding the implementation of SOPs. These reports detail the steps taken by mosques, courts, public offices, public parks, industries, shopping malls, local and private transport," he said.
"I will monitor this, and I am hopeful that if we begin taking precautionary measures from here on out, we can avoid a difficult situation," he said.
The premier reiterated that the government expects cases to peak in July, adding that the public must now consider taking precautionary measures their "duty".
He acknowledged that the fatalities will increase but added that the death rate in Pakistan from the virus was among the world's lowest.
"Less than one percent of patients these are those that are aged or have underlying conditions such as blood pressure or diabetes. We didn't enforce this (guidelines) strictly before because we were still gathering data. But now that it is in our hands, we will take action," he said.
He also said the government would give a special package for healthcare workers.
"To my doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, I want to say that we know it is a difficult time, but you are doing God's work," he said.
Khan lauded the efforts of his team but criticised the Opposition leaders, saying they "wanted more COVID-19 deaths" and failure of the economy so that they attack the government.