Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan on Monday paid rich tribute to the front- line warriors including officials of the State health department for their excellent performance. “Our doctors, nurses, and paramedics in the fields deserve our appreciation for their courageous role during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. Describing COVID-19 as an unprecedented health challenge, President Masood cautioned that the pandemic is not over and that people should not lower their guard. He expressed these views after the presentation of the annual report of the Health Department for the year 2019-20 and the departmental briefing by the Director-General of Health, Dr. Sardar Aftab Hussain Khan, AJK President office, told the media. “We need to keep our focus on awareness campaigns by involving public sector universities, educational institutions, front-line workers, NGOs, community-based organizations, and the media to create awareness and sensitize the individual and communities about the threat of the pandemic,” the State President emphasized. He said that it was a matter of great satisfaction that despite the sudden outbreak of the pandemic, the government and the health department had not only quickly and effectively responded by setting up PCR laboratories, isolation centers for coronavirus patients but also took steps for up-gradation of hospital care, provision of vaccine, installing machines and medical equipment for chest scanning and other related medical functions. President Khan said it is important for the health department not only to maintain the same level of preparedness but also to take further steps to bring the fight against the pandemic to its logical conclusion. He also thanked the NCOC, National Institute of Health, National Disaster Management Authority, Pakistan Army and law enforcement agencies for their help during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and said that without close cooperation among these institutions and agencies, the desired results were impossible to achieve. Earlier in his briefing, Director General of Health Dr. Sardar Aftab Hussain said that in the last two and a half years, the health department has successfully dealt with three major emergencies that included the 2019 earthquake in Mirpur, the dengue epidemic, and finally the coronavirus pandemic.