KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on Monday launched indigenously manufactured ventilators amid the country’s battle against the raging coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Imran Khan handed over the first tranche of ventilators called “safe vent” to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) — a state-run agency that coordinates between different relief organizations — at a ceremony in the northwestern Haripur city, said Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

“A landmark achieved … first badge of Made in Pakistan ventilators safevent handed over to NDMA by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” Chaudhry said on Twitter, asserting the country has joined a “handful” of countries producing the “complicated medical machinery”.

Three more designs of the lifesaving machines are also in the final phase of development, he told parliament last week.

Khan-Adhanom phone talk

In a phone conversation with Tedros Adhanom, director general of the World Health Organization, on Monday, Pakistan’s premier urged the WHO to develop a global travel guideline to be followed by all countries.

Khan also asked the world health body to ensure that low income countries are not discriminated against in global travel.

“The PM Imran Khan had a call with DG of WHO @DrTedros. PM asked WHO to develop travel guidelines to be adopted by all countries to ensure that low income countries are not discriminated against in global travel,” Asad Umar, minister for planning, development & special initiatives, said in a Twitter post.

The WHO head, Umar said, recognized the positive trend in disease curtailment in Pakistan.

With more than 3,300 new cases recorded over the past 24 hours, the country’s coronavirus tally has neared 232,000, including almost 131,700 people having recovered.

Another 50 people died of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll beyond 4,700, according the Health Ministry data.

Currently, Islamabad is following a strategy of “smart lockdown” in scores of hotspots in some 20 big cities in an attempt to mitigate the virus outbreak.

According to the official statistics, Pakistan has so far run more than 1.42 million tests across the country.

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