ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that his government has been tracing suspected coronavirus patients in the country by using a system that its spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had developed to trace and track terrorists.
“It was originally meant to trace terrorists but we’re using it to tackle corona,” Khan said during a TV telethon held to raise funds to fight Covid-19. “Tracking, testing and quarantine (TTQ) is the only way to reopen businesses,” he said.
The objective of the system, according to government officials, is to identify focused clusters and hotspots to enable targeted lockdowns and need-driven resource optimisation at all levels.
As part of the TTQ system, the military assists the civilian agencies with technical skills and technology to devise strategies to contain the highly contagious disease.
The TTQ system involves ramping up of testing, rapidly tracing the contacts of confirmed infected patients, and effective quarantining of suspected and positive cases. The strategy is believed to be labour-intensive and requiring use of technology.
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The strategy, according to the authorities, is being adopted as the country gradually moves towards a “smart lockdown” under a hybrid model that entails continued social distancing, limited opening up of the economy, targeted isolation of vulnerable communities, and continuous capacity-building of the health sector.
The data collected through the system is used to compile reliable and quick results to help monitor the coronavirus crisis in the country.
Currently, the confirmed Covid-19 cases in Pakistan stand at 10,927, while the death toll has risen to 230. By Thursday midnight, health experts believe the number of confirmed cases will cross 11,000.
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