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August 8, 2020

Health experts oppose ease in lockdown

Top Story

August 8, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In the light of downward trend in coronavirus infections reported from across the country, the government has decided to lift restrictions, which were imposed to stem the spread of the virus; however, medical experts have warned that ease in curbs would cause another spike in cases.

Varying restrictions imposed in March, including the closure of schools, marriage halls, cinemas, international and domestic flights, helped the country bring down the death toll and the recovery rate to over 85 percent.

The government on Thursday decided to lift these curbs beginning next week and reopen educational institutions next month on September 15. Head of infectious diseases at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad Dr Nasim Akhtar, talking to the Arab News, said patients started coming into his facility's coronavirus ward after Eidul Azha observed last week. “Cases registered a sharp increase after Eidul Fitr, and this can happen now again with the lifting of the lockdowns,” she said.

Akhtar was of the opinion that the government should have kept the restaurants and other public spaces closed for at least another two weeks instead of announcing their reopening. “This is a bit early, and may worsen the situation again,” Akhtar said.

Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Secretary General of the Pakistan Medical Association, said next week was pivotal, as only one week had passed since the Eid holidays. It is pertinent to note here that the incubation period of the coronavirus is 14 days. Echoing Dr Akhtar's concerns, Dr Sajjad said that the move taken was in a "hurry".