ISLAMABAD: With a threefold increase in number of people being tested positive for the deadly coronavirus disease everyday in less than three weeks, health experts believe the reopening of businesses and tourism sector is responsible for the resurge in cases and urge the government to announce a lockdown so that Eidul Azha is celebrated with the observance of strict health-related restrictions.
As many as 35 deaths from Covid-19 and 1,828 more cases were reported from across the country in a single day, according to the latest data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), whereas on June 21 (some 20 days ago) the tally of new cases was only 663.
Also, the NCOC data shows that the country has 36,454 active cases on July 10, while their number was around 31,000 some three weeks ago. Currently, there are 2,305 patients admitted in hospitals and 217 of them were on ventilators.
An official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), requesting anonymity, said it was unfortunate that whenever ownership had been given to the masses, they misused it. “I believe people should behave responsibly and strictly follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Otherwise we will be left with no option but to impose restrictions as we are heading towards fourth wave of Covid-19,” the official said.
Member of the Scientific Task Force on Covid-19 Dr Javed Akram, meanwhile, told Dawn that virus was continuously mutating and becoming lethal.
“There are 39,000 possible positions of mutation in virus. With the passage of time it (virus) has been developing more tentacles due to which its ability to attach with the lungs has increased and it damages lungs more. In other words, it is becoming more virulent,” the expert said.
He said the government had decided to lift restrictions from the business and tourism sectors for the benefit of people and national economy, but the masses did not take the precautions serious thinking that the pandemic was over.
“We need to change our behaviour and try to play our role for the eradication of virus. Just after opening of restrictions [since June 15] people started misusing the relaxation. A large number of people went to Gilgit-Baltistan, where Covid-19 positivity was around 1 per cent. Tourists become carrier of virus and then it is multiplied there, as a large number of people travelled in one transport and shared rooms. Currently, positivity of cases in Skardu is around 30pc. When people returned from northern areas they again become carrier of virus and now cases are increasing across the country,” he said.
12 Delta variant cases
Dr Akram said as many as 12 mutations were observed in Delta (Indian) variant and the situation was becoming serious with every passing day.
“We are heading towards very bad time. I suggest that NCOC should impose lockdown and Eid should be observed under strict restrictions,” he said.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2021