KARACHI: Fearing a spike in coronavirus cases after Eidul Azha, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has called upon the government to ensure strict implementation of its standard operating procedures (SOPs) at cattle markets before and during Eid holidays and abolish small cattle markets inside cities.
It also urged the government not to get complacent over an improved Covid-19 situation in the country as experience in many countries had shown that the virus had hit back and its second wave was even harder in severity than the previous one.
“We should remain vigilant because coronavirus still exists in Pakistan and new cases are emerging on a daily basis. There are many unreported cases as people do not go for virus testing and doctors are also diagnosing several cases on clinical grounds,” the association said in a statement.
The association favours opening of educational institutes after monitoring severity of Covid-19
It underscored the need for learning a lesson from the experience of Eidul Fitr during which people neglected SOPs and, consequently, a large number of Covid-19 cases were reported at healthcare facilities and the death toll rose to alarming levels.
No SOPs being followed at cattle markets
It regretted the Sindh government’s failure in ensuring establishment of small cattle markets outside cities and the negligence currently being shown by local administrations at these markets.
“The local administration seems least bothered or helpless about enforcing SOPs at cattle markets. Cattle vendors and buyers are seen without masks. Children and the elderly are visiting these markets without any restriction and nobody is being checked for fever at entry points of these markets. This state of affairs is very alarming.”
In this regard, the association appreciated the Islamabad administration for enforcement of SOPs at cattle markets. “The administration is conducting the coronavirus test of cattle vendors and ensuring that every person in the market is wearing a mask. They have also banned children and elderly [from] visiting cattle markets.”
The association suggested that educational institutions should be opened after monitoring the severity of Covid-19.
“It is important that the coronavirus test (antibodies test) of all staff members including van drivers and attendants is done before opening educational institutions because one infected person can spread the disease in the whole institution.
“If these institutions are allowed to open then the administration will have to follow SOPs. This is the right time for teachers to teach the primary- and secondary-level students to maintain hygiene at personal and community level.”
SOPs for Eidul Azha
According to the SOPs released by the PMA for Eid, minimum people should visit the cattle market; elderly and children should not be allowed to visit the cattle market; everybody present at the time of slaughtering of sacrificial animals should wear mask and ensure social distancing; remains of animals should be disposed of properly and calcium hydroxide (lime powder) should be sprinkled to clean the place after slaughtering the animal; people should avoid handshake and hugging and ensure social distancing; avoid going to crowded places; sanitize or wash hands with soap properly after regular intervals.
It asked the general public to contact a qualified doctor immediately if symptoms, such as cough, fever, flu, headache, body aches, loss of appetite or loss of sense of smell and taste appear.
Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2020