Another coronavirus wave

The Eid laxities

Major Muslim countries introduced special restrictions during Eidul Azha to control the spread of covid-19. Turkey stopped short of clamping curfew as it had done on Eidul Fitr. Instead it advised citizens to exchange Eid greetings online. Visits to relatives and friends were discouraged and subjected to strict regulations. Iran imposed a week-long lockdown on Tehran and the surrounding region. Instead of hosting over 2million pilgrims, Saudi Arabia allowed only 60,000 vaccinated Saudi citizens or residents to perform the Hajj. UAE reduced the maximum period of the post-prayer sermon to 15 minutes, ensured that the doors of mosques would open 15 minutes prior to the start of the prayer and be closed immediately after the prayer.

Pakistan fell short of introducing the required restrictions on account of the religiosity of those in power, leading to dire consequences. Within days after the Eid the national positivity ratio hit the highest level in more than two months with the positivity ratio topping 10% in six major cities. The single-day tally of the fresh covid-19 cases topped 3,500 after many weeks, pushing the number of active cases in the country close to 58,000. The fourth wave is already weighing heavily on government hospitals. The surge in virus cases has forced the Sindh government to further strengthen covid-19 restrictions. The Punjab government has initiated a door-to-door vaccination campaign in five cities including Lahore. It is being maintained that vaccination alone can mitigate the crisis

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Shortage of vaccines is the reason behind the vast majority of the targeted population still remaining unvaccinated. There were complaints that the government failed to place timely orders, waiting instead for donated vaccines. While the government denied it, facts that surfaced during a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on Monday raise perturbing questions. It was revealed that a considerable chunk of funds acquired for fighting covid-19 was diverted to tax returns, subsidizing utility stores, Panahgahs, power, gas and petrol, which are normally funded from the annual budget and supplementary grants. This strengthens the perception that if the covid-19 funds had been used to purchase vaccines on time, most of the targeted population would have been vaccinated by now.

Editorial
The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]

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