I THINK it can be safely assumed that the rampant spread of Covid-19 has been substantially contained in Pakistan, in spite of a decrease in the number of daily tests conducted for the detection of the virus.

An uncanny factor which can still not be fully explained seems to be at play in lowering not only the number of new infections, but bringing down the death rate considerably also.

In the absence of a vaccine, these low numbers can increase very quickly if proper measures are not taken during the forthcoming Muharram.

I would like to urge the government and more precisely the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to be extra vigilant and redouble their efforts during Muharram to control the spread of the virus. Educating the people about the spread of the virus is fine but the onus of containing the Covid-19 cannot be put on the people.

For that, the government has to adopt measures like collective lockdowns and limiting the number of hours when the markets can be open to avoid crowds. Unless these measures are taken, we can fritter away our hard won gains and be back to square one.

Akbar Jan Marwat
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2020

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