IT seems Pakistani authorities have taken coronavirus too lightly, for it has been spreading in the country fast with overall 28 cases officially confirmed.

This is mainly because the decision on closing borders with Iran was taken too late. To make matters worse, the government, instead of keeping the borders with Iran closed for an indefinite period, has now again opened the Taftan border for trade with Iran. This is, obviously, a gross mistake and an illogical decision.

Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom, has too raised the alarm by saying that ‘global spread of the virus is not a drill’. He lamented that some countries had either not taken coronavirus seriously enough or had decided there is nothing they can do.

Owing to this alarming situation, corporate giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have asked their employees in the US to work from home to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Twitter has made working from home mandatory for all employees. The UK government too has suggested that people should be encouraged to work from home.

Now coronavirus seems to be spreading fast in Pakistan too, especially in Karachi. While the government needs to plug in all entry and exit points, it should also ask all such institutions where it is possible to tell their employees to work from home to contain the spread of virus.

Although this may seem impossible to ask all employees in at least private organisations to work from home, there are people associated with certain trades or professions who may work remotely such as accountants, auditors, information technology experts, engineers, consultants, and journalists.

Coronavirus is a natural catastrophe and cannot be stopped. But it can certainly be contained if we take measures to stop its spread, and reducing the number of people at public places is one step to contain it.

Jamshaid Ahmad
Karachi

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AT least 28 people have been officially confirmed as virus infected in Pakistan, particularly in Karachi. The Sindh government rightly closed all educational institutions till March 13 across the province as soon as the first coronavirus case was reported in Karachi.

Now the Sindh government has extended school, college and university holidays till May 31. China’s Consul General in Karachi Li Bijian has recently advised the Sindh government to extend all schools and colleges holidays and ban large public gatherings.

The Chinese diplomat is of the view that the Sindh government should learn from China to prevent and control coronavirus to save more lives. Now who can give a better advice on how to control spread of coronavirus than a Chinese diplomat, for it was Wuhan, China, from where the virus spread.

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom has already declared it a pandemic and that global spread of the virus is not a drill. On the other hand, corporate giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook have asked their employees to work from home.

It is a wise decision by the Sindh government to extend the holidays of educational institutions and holding PSL matches in Karachi behind closed doors the way football league matches at Europa League, Champions League, La Liga, etc., are being played without spectators owing to coronavirus.

Muhammad Riaz
Karachi

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2020