ISLAMABAD: On the first day of formal lifting of the countrywide lockdown on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said it was being recongnised internationally that lockdown was a temporary solution to the prevailing coronavirus crisis.
As the total number of Covid-19 cases stood at 31,728 on Monday, with 691 deaths, the prime minister said the lockdown had been lifted for the sake of the poor and keeping the wheel of the economy moving, besides implementing precautionary measures to control the rise in coronavirus trajectory in the country.
“It has been recognised internationally that the lockdown is a temporary solution to the coronavirus crisis,” Mr Khan said while presiding over a meeting on the Covid-19 situation in the country. “We have eased restrictions of lockdown keeping in view of people’s miseries and starvation of poor and daily wage earners,” he added.
The prime minister had announced lifting the lockdown on Thursday, and Monday was the first day of opening of markets and several other businesses from early morning to 5pm. However, it was observed that on the very first day of lifting of the lockdown, people did not observe the government’s SOPs, especially in markets and shops.
People ignore SOPs on first day of lifting of lockdown; 1,312 new virus cases, 30 deaths reported in 24 hours
Prime Minister Khan said implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) was imperative, besides enforcing the lockdown. Responding to some complaints regarding testing of the viral disease, he said concerns expressed by some circles of society should be addressed and people should be asked to undergo Covid-19 test whenever they felt some symptoms of the disease in them.
The prime minister again endorsed the option of self-quarantine at home if a Covid-19 patient did not want to be hospitalised or go to official quarantine facilities. “People should be given awareness about how they can quarantine themselves in their homes,” he added.
On the issue of availability of ventilators for serious Covid-19 patients, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to ensure best possible use of ventilators and their availability to the chronic patients.
The meeting also reviewed provision of personal preventive equipment to doctors and paramedical staff. The prime minister was briefed on the present upward trajectory of coronavirus in the country.
Of the total coronavirus cases detected so far across the country, Sindh is on the top with 12,017 cases, followed by Punjab (11,568), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (4,875), Balochistan (2,061), Islamabad (679), Gilgit-Baltistan (442) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (86). A total of 8,212 Covid-19 patients have so far recovered in the country.
Thirty people died of coronavirus during the last 24 hours. So far 197 deaths have been reported in Punjab, 189 in Sindh, 245 in KP, 26 in Balochistan, six in Islamabad and four in GB.
According to the National Command and Operations Centre data, 290 patients are in critical condition. It said that so far 294,894 tests had been conducted across the country, including 11,367 during the last 24 hours. According to the data, 735 hospitals in the country have Covid-19 treatment facilities, where 6,230 patients have been admitted.
Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2020