Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan

MIRPUR (AJK): Sep 15 (APP):Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan said on Tuesday coordinated and coherent efforts of Pakistan and the AJK governments, and the timely decision-making strategy enormously helped lower the COVID-19 fatality and infection rate in the country.

“With the grace of Almighty Allah, we have achieved something which the best prepared developed countries have failed to attain to deal with the pandemic,” he said while talking to a National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) delegation, according to a press release.

Headed by Executive Director of National Institute of Health (NIH) Major General Amer Ikram, the delegation is currently visiting the AJK to assist in the testing ramp up and contact tracing for reopening of educational institutions.

The AJK president said with the NCOC and the NIH, the federal government, armed forces of Pakistan, all the four provincial governments and the Azad Kashmir government had taken preventive measures in time that had significantly contributed to flattening the pandemic curve.

He told the delegation that the timely measures adopted by the state government, efforts of the physicians and the paramedical staff at the risk of their own lives, cooperation from Ulema and Mashaikh, and above all the cooperation of the people with the government had gone a long way to cope with this test and the challenge.

“We are still constantly apprising the people that the danger is not yet over, and as such they must not abandon preventive measures,” Sardar Masood said.

He added that on the one hand, the Azad Kashmir government had successfully controlled the pandemic through an effective lockdown, while on the other the immediate support from the NCOC, the NIH and other agencies also helped it to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

The president maintained that the federal government through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme helped the AJK government tackle the major economic challenge in the wake of strict lockdown, and at the same time the state government through its own resources and with the cooperation of NGOs provided support to the people economically affected by the pandemic.

About the overall public health situation in Azad Kashmir, he said change in the lifestyle of the people had alarmingly increased cardiac diseases, hypertension, and cancer etc, and “we need cooperation and support from the federal government and the international health organizations to overcome these diseases.

“We need telemedicine technology to provide health facilities to the people living in far-flung areas, and big hospitals of Punjab and other areas of Pakistan are ready for cooperation in this regard. Health infrastructure exists in Azad Kashmir, but we need modern diagnostic labs and health technology as well as trained staff.”

On the occasion, Maj Gen Amir Ikram said the National Coordination Committee for Coronavirus had stepped up its efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccine to the Pakistani people. He added that clinical trials of the vaccine manufactured by China would start shortly.

He said that initially COVID-19 vaccine would be provided to about 20 million people in the