Tuesday February 07, 2023

Imran urges masses against repeat of Eid ‘carelessness’

By News Desk
July 10, 2020


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday urged Pakistanis to exercise extra caution ahead of Eidul Adha to prevent the resurgence of the coronavirus, which according to him, is on a flattening trend in the country.

“I appeal to my people not to do again what they did during the previous Eid (Eidul Fitr),” Khan said while inaugurating the Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Centre here. “Any public gathering results in the spread of the virus and puts pressure on hospitals, doctors and nurses, besides causing deaths.”

The Prime Minister’s appeal came after Pakistan experienced a sharp spike in cases and deaths in the weeks after Eidul Fitr holidays, during which Pakistanis ignored government safety advice and made merry — on the heels of the Centre’s further easing of virus restrictions.

Since Eid, cases have multiplied by nearly four times to 240,848 with the death toll approaching 5,000, according to government numbers released on Thursday. The government has since instituted “smart” lockdowns — targeted area-wise quarantines —- which has begun to bear fruit: Daily infections have dropped from a high 6,825 on June 13 to 3,359 in less than a month.

During the hospital opening, the Prime Minister was accompanied by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Asim Saleem Bajwa, while Chairman National Disaster Management Authority Lt-Gen Muhammad Afzal and Brigadier Asim of the Authority briefed him on the project.

Spread over 40-kanal land, the 250-bed pre-fabricated facility has five intensive care units, ventilators, isolation wards, 95 oxygenated beds, a nurse-calling system as well as maiden “E-ICU” facility to allow doctors from abroad to treat patients through telemedicine. The Chinese government provided $4 million for construction of the facility.

The Prime Minister said the effective measures collectively taken by the provinces as advised by the NCOC, had “amazingly led to the flattening of the coronavirus curve even before the projected time frame”.

He said as the infections were on a downward trend, it could just as easily surge again if the people show negligence and violate the standard operating procedures (SOPs). He added: “I appeal to the people to celebrate this Eid with simplicity. The SOPs have been formulated for Eid.

“Just for sake of national economy and wellbeing of the elderly and frail, it is essential to observe Eid with simplicity.”

Earlier, the Premier visited different sections of the hospitals after unveiling its plaque. He lauded the tremendous work by the NDMA for completing the facility in a “record 100-day period” despite the lockdown impeding the movement of people and transportation of material.

He said: “The completion of such a specialised hospital manifests the political will of the government to carry out challenging tasks in difficult times.”

In his remarks, the NDMA chairman thanked the governments of Pakistan and China, Gen Bajwa and Ambassador Yao for their cooperation.