Observing SOPs on Eid ‘essential’ to sustain positive trend, says PM Imran

Published July 17, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan is "amongst the fortunate countries where Covid-19 cases  [...] have gone down". — PM Imran's Instagram account/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan is "amongst the fortunate countries where Covid-19 cases [...] have gone down". — PM Imran's Instagram account/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again urged the nation to observe standard operating procedures (SOPs) on Eidul Azha to avoid a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country.

In two-part tweets on Friday, the prime minister highlighted that Pakistan was "amongst the fortunate countries where Covid-19 cases in hospitals, especially in intensive care and death rate have gone down, unlike in our unfortunate neighbour India".

He attributed the falling number of cases to the "smart lockdown policy and the nation observing government SOPs" and urged people to continue taking preventive measures that are "essential to sustain our positive trend".

The premier reiterated the importance of celebrating the upcoming Eidul Azha with "simplicity so as not to repeat what happened last Eid when SOPs were ignored and our hospitals were choked".

"I am ordering strict implementation of government SOPs," he added.

Earlier this month, the prime minister had made a similar appeal to the nation after inaugurating the Isolation Hospital and Infectious Treatment Centre (IHITC) in Islamabad. Speaking to the media, he said that "carelessness" on Eidul Fitr in May had led to a spike in cases in across the country.

"This led to pressure on our hospitals, our frontline workers also faced immense pressure, we unfortunately lost lives and the virus peaked.

"Today, I want to make a special appeal to you all: if we are careless on Eidul Azha, the virus could spread again and there could be a fresh spike in the number of infections. Hospitals will come under pressure again. So I'm appealing to you all to mark this Eid with simplicity."

Citing the risks the virus can pose to the elderly and middle-aged people, the premier added: "I appeal to the entire nation to observe Eid with simplicity — for the sake of your country, its economy and especially the elderly and at-risk members of the society.

"If we take care now, then we can manage, God willing, to come out of this pandemic better than other countries."

In recent weeks, new coronavirus cases in Pakistan have continued to decline — a development the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan dubbed as the result of its "successful" anti-Covid-19 strategy.

On Tuesday, the country recorded slightly below 2,000 new cases, the lowest number of daily cases in months, compared to between 5,000 and 6,000 in May and June.

While some experts acknowledge that the ratio of positive cases has gone down to around 10pc from a peak of 22pc in June, they warn that the forthcoming Eidul Azha would be "crucial" to the country's anti-coronavirus strategy.

"If people come out like they did on Eidul Fitr in the hundreds of thousands, then I have no doubt about another spike," a Karachi-based expert says.

Read more: Pakistan’s virus curve is bending but experts say it’s too early to declare victory

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