Govt mulls ‘national quarantine’ as Covid-19 tally soars | Pakistan Today

Govt mulls ‘national quarantine’ as Covid-19 tally soars

–Pakistan coronavirus cases cross 58,000 amid violation of SOPs by public during Eid break

ISLAMABAD: As the number of coronavirus infections continues to spike amid violations of the standard operating procedures owing to Eid, the federal government has warned that it will have to re-impose the lockdown to contain the cases.

The warning came weeks after the government had started phase-wise easing of the nation-wide lockdown earlier this month, citing economic fallout of a prolonged quarantine.

Pakistan’s coronavirus toll on Tuesday reached 58,457 with 1,210 reported deaths. According to the national database, some 18,314 patients have completely recovered so far. According to the numbers, Sindh and Punjab account for more than two-thirds of the country’s total Covid-19 toll with 23,507 and 20,654 cases, respectively.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan reported 8,259 and 3,468 cases followed behind by Islamabad which has so far confirmed 1,728 positive cases. The toll is lowest in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is anticipating a general poll in September this year, and Azad Kashmir that have announced 630 and 211 cases, respectively.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said the government will reimpose the national quarantine “if the current trajectory of the virus continues”.

Lamenting that the government’s instructions and SOPs were not being followed, Mirza said: “As we promised when we eased the lockdown if this trend continues we may reimpose strict lockdowns after Eid.”

He observed that apparently there was a perception that the threat of the pandemic was over. “Unfortunately, there is now this thinking among us that this disease was only here till Eid and that somehow it will disappear after Eid. This is a huge misunderstanding,” he said.

Mirza announced that the government will assess the situation after Eid before making a final decision on the fate of the lockdown.

Last week, the Supreme Court had ordered the federal government to reopen shopping malls across the country while declaring that “apparently is not a pandemic in Pakistan”. The apex court also directed the authorities to allow markets to remain open on Saturday and Sunday as well, contrary to the government’s original plan in which markets were only open four days a week.

In his presser, Mirza warned that carelessness may result in a tragedy. “I want to warn Pakistanis that if you don’t take precautionary measures, this crisis could turn into a huge tragedy. I urge the nation to act with extreme responsibility to curb the spread of the virus,” he said.

Enumerating coronavirus statistics from around the world, the prime minister’s aide stated that Covid-19 has now infected more than 5.5 million people globally and killed nearly 350,000.

“But the characteristic of this disease is that a huge majority of the patients recover from it — therefore the good news is that millions have also recovered and are now healthy,” he said.

He clarified that most of the active cases in the country were mild and those patients were quarantined at home. He requested them to stay at home and recuperate until they are tested negative.

“Unfortunately, there are 112 patients intubated in Pakistan right now. These patients are critically ill and are fighting for their lives at this very moment.” Mirza said.

“We don’t know when this virus will end. There are some 37,700 active cases in the country and the numbers are rising,” he said. Mirza dedicated the Eid to frontline health workers who are “selflessly fighting the disease”.


Meanwhile, Sindh government’s spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab rejected a media report which had claimed that authorities were considering to impose curfew in the province.

Responding to a news item aired by a private news channel, he clarified that “Sindh government has not made any such decision”.

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