It seems that the covid-19 challenge is not as done and dusted as we had been led to believe. There has been an increase in the positivity rat in Islamabad, over the past couple of days, where it reached four percent, while it reached 1.3 percent nationwide. These are not frightening figures, but they are worrying, as they indicate that the dread disease might once again be making the sort of comeback that will make it a menace for the public at large.
The resurgence is coming soon after the dissolution of the NCOC had marked the decline of the disease from a national health emergency to just another potentially fatal disease. While the nation sighed with relief at the removal of the sometimes irksome public-health restrictions that had, at the height of the pandemic, virtually paralyzed all life, the probability is arising that those restrictions, such as social distancing, sneezing/coughing precautions, and the use of hand sanitizers, may once again have to be enforced.
It is noteworthy that the country came through the pandemic not unscathed, but not as badly hit as it might have been. That goes to the credit of the PTI government. The coalition government now has to handle this crisis. The head of the government, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while Chief Minister Punjab, had to tackle another viral disease epidemic, dengue fever. That experience, while not entirely transferable, will be better than if the situation was an entirely new challenge. However, the Health Minister, Mr Abdul Qadir Mandokhel, while probably a savvy political operator, is no public-health expert, His predecessor, Dr Faisal Sultan, had been the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital chief before becoming SAPM, but his expertise as a public-health expert may be invited to make up for Mr Mandokhel’s rough-diamond qualities. Any procrastination in the implementation of an already demonstrably effective action plan would be most unfortunate and cost lives.