ISLAMABAD: With the situation in Pakistan continuously worsening, the government has sought innovative ideas from organisations, experts and individuals to combat the deadly Covid-19 disease.
As many as 21 organisations, including United Nations agencies, have been involved in analysing suggestions and implementing them as there will be financial implications of enforcing such ideas.
Meanwhile, the Sindh government has announced that there will be complete lockdown from 12 noon to 3pm on Friday, advising people not to come out of their houses for Juma prayers. In a statement issued on Thursday, Sindh Local Government Minister Nasir Shah said the “painful” decision about the ban on Friday prayers was taken with a heavy heart. “The mosques, however, will remain open where only three to five persons can perform Juma prayers,” he added.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said a new initiative had been launched by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and the National Incubation Centre (NIC) to get innovative ideas to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
Govt seeks innovative ideas to combat virus; confirmed Covid-19 cases surge to 2,419 with 34 deaths
“As many as 21 organisations, including UN agencies, have been involved in the initiative. Organisations, experts and individuals should share written ideas as to how people can get authentic information about Covid-19 and get rid of wrong information, how supply chain of personal protective equipment can be improved and how hygiene conditions can be improved,” he added.
Dr Mirza said ideas should also be given on how people could be protected from the deadly virus, how rush in hospitals could be reduced, how patients should be quarantined and how people could work from home.
“Since it involves funding, guidance, support and fellows, we will facilitate to implement the ideas. Ideas should be given at ‘nicpakistan.pk/hackathon’ by April 12. Ideas will be analysed on April 13 and 14 and information will be shared on the website on April 15. Mentors will contact the movers of the ideas to further refine them from April 17 to 19. On April 22, the ideas will be finalised,” he added.
Dr Mirza said that funding and support such as officers, technology, etc, would be provided by the government and the ideas finalised would be implemented at the national level.
Meanwhile, some more areas have been disinfected and sealed in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Shahzad Town and Bhara Kahu areas of Islamabad, which had been sealed after emergence of some cases of coronavirus, were disinfected on Thursday.
Similarly, an area from Banni Chowk to Jamia Masjid in Rawalpindi was sealed after a Covid-19 case was reported from there.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqat said that the assistant commissioners had after visiting areas of the federal capital filed a report that there were a few buyers in the market as people had stocked up on wheat flour after rumors that it would not be available.
Tahir Siddiqui in Karachi also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2020