ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday urged the nation to refrain from flouting standard operating procedures (SOPs) during Muharram despite a reduction in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Speaking at a ceremony in the federal capital, he lauded the PTI Tiger Force volunteers for their role in supporting the government’s coronavirus response.
“Today Pakistan is among those few countries that have successfully managed to control the pandemic,” he said, adding that the world now recognised Pakistan’s successful strategy.
“Wear a mask every time you leave the house,” he said, adding that not wearing one would amount to being ‘ungrateful’.
Prime Minister Khan appealed to those attending majalis and mourning processions to adopt precautionary measures.
Lauds Tiger Force volunteers for their support in containing spread of virus
“This is a time for precaution. If God has blessed us, we need to be thankful, and wear a mask,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data, the number of tests, which had dropped to around 11,000 during Eidul Azha holidays, has increased again, with 23,390 people having been tested across the country during the past 24 hours.
In Sindh, 10,001 people were tested for Covid-19, followed by Punjab with 7,114, Islamabad 2,931, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 2,314, Balochistan 697, Gilgit-Baltistan 117 and in Azad Kashmir 216 people.
The NCOC said that on Sunday only 153 ventilators, out of 1,859 allocated for the Covid-19 patients, were in use across the country. There was no patient on ventilator in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan.
It said only 1,334 patients were being treated in 735 hospitals with Covid-19 facilities in the country.
Novel coronavirus was first detected in China in December last year which then spread to other countries. Pakistan closed its borders and took a number of steps to stop its spread. The first Covid-19 case was reported in Pakistan in the last week of February.
On March 13, a meeting of the National Security Committee, comprising the civilian and military leadership, was held to discuss the crisis which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had chaired the meeting, directed the relevant authorities to devise a comprehensive strategy to check the spread of the disease.
A countrywide lockdown was announced on March 16 and a number of industries, educational institutions, restaurants and marriage halls were closed.
The National Disaster Management Authority was involved to ensure availability of medical equipment and health-related supplies at the earliest.
The National Coordination Committee on Covid-19 lifted the restrictions on the tourism sector on Aug 8, while restaurants and the transport sector will reopen on Monday (today).
The committee has given a timetable for opening other sectors, including educational institutions and marriage halls.
Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2020