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May 23, 2020

If situation worsens, we will have only ourselves to blame

Top Story

May 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza Friday urged the nation to refrain from traditional embracing on Eid, and to demonstrate individual responsibility to contain the spread of coronavirus, which killed 50 Pakistanis and affected another 2,603 in the last 24 hours alone — the highest number of deaths and confirmed cases in a day thus far.

“Pakistan has reported maximum cases and deaths in a day. Never have so many confirmed cases and deaths been reported in 24 hours,” Dr Zafar stated during a briefing from the National Command and Control Centre, as the country’s national case count mounted to 50,694.

“This Eid will be different from all previous Eids. Please, do not embrace each other as the practice can trigger further spread of infection. Maintain social distancing and use masks during exchange of greetings,” Dr Zafar pleaded. The SAPM advised the public to ideally offer their Eid prayers at home, or to strictly adhere to laid down protocols in case they must go to mosques. He urged the rich and able to assist the poor and needy who have been acutely affected by the lockdown. He quoted examples from previous natural calamities and emergencies wherein Pakistanis demonstrated unprecedented sacrifice and voluntary help.

Announcing the revision of SOPs for public transport and Eid shopping, Dr Zafar said, “Wearing a mask is no longer a matter of choice, it is now mandatory for every person visiting a market or using transport,” he said, regretting public callousness in the wake of partial lifting of the lockdown a couple of weeks ago.

“The government eased the lockdown to facilitate daily wagers but if we look at the numbers, we can tell that the disease is only more rapidly spreading. The situation is worrisome. The SOPs issued at the start of Ramazan were only partially followed. Our observations in the past a couple of weeks have been highly dissatisfactory. Despite repeated requests to the contrary, people continue to throng marketplaces and converge in close contact, with zero adherence to protocols.

If we continue to overlook these precautions, the situation will only worsen, and we will have no one but ourselves to blame,” Dr Zafar maintained.

The SAPM repeated that the spread of coronavirus can be contained through social distancing and adherence to SOPs.