Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Friday said due to proactive decisions by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) to increase oxygen production capacity and importing more oxygen cylinders, the situation in hospitals is under control despite rapid increase in Covid-19 cases. “Total number of critical care Covid patients on oxygen reached 5,360 on Thursday. This is 57 percent more than the peak last June,” he said in a series of tweets. “We have so far managed to cope with this huge increase because of proactively building capacity of the entire system from oxygen production to beds,” he added. The minister who is also NCOC chief said total oxygen production operational capacity in Pakistan last year was 487 tons per day which had been increased to 798 tons while oxygen production had gone up from 465 tons per day last June to 725 tons currently. “We also imported 19,200 oxygen cylinders last year to ensure distribution.” The minister said despite having more than 2,000 additional Covid patients on oxygen compared to last June peak, the tight oxygen supply situation that was seen last year had not been created now. Continuing to build capacity, Asad Umar said the NCOC decided to import 6,000 tons of oxygen, 5,000 cylinders and 20 cryogenic tanks. “It is this proactive decision making which has with Allah’s blessings help us avoid the kind of scenes being witnessed in some other countries.” He noted that bedrock of this proactive decision making had been a data based forward looking analytical approach, nationally coordinated effort with a whole of the nation approach and hard work of dedicated teams who continued to steer the efforts through this difficult challenge. “However, the challenge is not over and in fact is continuing to increase. The need for precautions and following SOPs is vital at this point in time. Next few weeks are critical. No system can cope if we allow the disease to spread rapidly,” he add. The national tally of total active Covid-19 cases Friday was recorded at 91,547 as 5,112 new cases were reported on Friday. According to the latest update issued by the NCOC, 131 people died, of whom 113 were under treatment in hospitals and 18 out of hospitals in their respective quarantines or homes. Most of the deaths occurred in Punjab, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Out of the total 131 deaths, 52 of them were under treatment on ventilators. The maximum ventilators were occupied in four major areas including Lahore 72 percent, Multan 74 percent, Gujranwala 59 percent and Mardan 64 percent. The maximum oxygen beds were occupied in four major areas of Gujranwala 74 percent, Multan 77 percent, Peshawar 70 percent and Nowshera 67 percent. Around 641 ventilators were occupied elsewhere in the country while no Covid-19 affected person was on ventilator in Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Balochistan. Some 49,099 tests were conducted across the country on Thursday, including 14,633 in Sindh, 18,962 in Punjab, 8,230 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 5,168 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 894 in Balochistan, 453 in GB, and 759 in AJK. Since the pandemic outbreak, a total of 820,823 cases were detected that also included the perished, recovered and under treatment COVID-19 patients so far, including AJK 17,057, Balochistan 22,278, GB 5,305, ICT 75,067, KP 117,557, Punjab 301,114 and Sindh 282,445. About 17,811 deaths were recorded in country since the eruption of the contagion. A total of 11,788,126 tests have been conducted so far, while 631 hospitals were equipped with Covid-19 facilities. Some 6,507 patients are currently admitted in hospitals across the country. Around 711,465 people have recovered from the disease so far across the country, making it a significant count with over 90 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients.