Rising cases

 
October 23, 2020

Just as we had thought that the Covid-19 nightmare we and the rest of the world have faced since the start of the year may have waned to a large extent, there are reports that infection cases are...

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Just as we had thought that the Covid-19 nightmare we and the rest of the world have faced since the start of the year may have waned to a large extent, there are reports that infection cases are back and ready to claim more lives. The National Command and Control Centre run by Asad Umar has warned of an increase in cases in the country and said that this is largely due to people not following the recommended SOPs, such as wearing masks at all places outside their homes. Dr Faisal Sultan, the PM's adviser on health, has also said SOPs have to be observed otherwise there will be no choice but to impose restrictions once again.

Given the impact lockdowns and other restrictions have on the economy, obviously, no one wants this. People are also tired, around the world, of the disruption in life caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But for now, this is a menace we need to learn how to live with. It is true a vaccine is being developed, but we do not know how long it may take to make it available in mass doses to the public. It could be several months; it could be more than that. Till then the only answer is social distancing, hand-washing, and crucially, the wearing of masks. In Pakistan the positivity rate for Covid-19 is now reported at 2.58 percent. This is lower than is the case in many European countries. But it is creeping up. On Wednesday, around 28,534 people were tested across the country. Of these 736 tested positive. This is a fairly high rate. Each day, according to the NCOC, around 600 cases are being reported. This is far lower than the 6000 cases reported on average in June. But there are fears that the number will creep up. Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned that winter smog could worsen the virus situation. This is obviously not a situation we want to face. We also do not want to face another lockdown, another disruption in schooling and another end to ordinary life as we know it. The only way to avoid this is to strictly observe SOPs and for the government to ensure that the rules laid down are implemented. Currently, we see that in bazaars and in streets and everywhere else almost everyone is ‘maskless’.

The danger needs to be reiterated to people. Warnings need to be made stronger and given out more often. At the same time, police must be asked to apprehend and fine those who are going without a mask or indulging in other behaviour which could present a risk. Somehow, we have to keep Covid-19 in control, at least until a vaccine is developed and its efficacy ascertained. Only then can we ensure that this devastating virus will not once again throw our lives into chaos.



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