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October 23, 2020

‘Winter pandemic,’ can be avoided with right efforts

Islamabad

October 23, 2020

Islamabad : The Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan has said that there is already a slight but definitive rise in COVID-19 cases, but the second wave, the so-called ‘winter pandemic,’ can be avoided with the right efforts and precautions.

He was speaking here at the research launch of the report ‘Pakistan’s fight against COVID-19’ by the Center for Research and Security Studies.

Dr Faisal warned that the threat of Covid-19 is ever-present and with respiratory diseases traditionally gaining momentum in the winter, caution is ever more necessary.

He claimed that the initial polar public perception now transformed into unipolar perception in favour of smart lockdowns. He further remarked that countries with similar socio-economic infrastructure did not fare well, in addition to countries where federal structures were devolved.

Regarding the vaccine, he said that if and when available, Pakistan would prioritise subsets of the population first, such as those at high-risk and frontline workers. We have to carefully allocate resources for vaccination as Pakistan does not have the sufficient resources to invest in all the global vaccination efforts. The advantage Pakistan has is that our polio vaccination teams can quickly and efficiently inoculate the population, though unlike polio, it will not be a simultaneous, mass effort.

The CRSS report states that Pakistan, against all forecasts and odds, bent the COVID-19 curve in its favor. Broadly speaking, the creation of a central mechanism for all coordination, collation, decision-making and implementation in the form of the NCOC, piggybacking on the polio surveillance network, and dramatically ramping up healthcare infrastructure resulted in Pakistan’s strong response to the pandemic.

Despite the demonstrable success of the curbing mechanisms, this is no time to celebrate or drop our collective guard, said the special assistant. The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic is very real and ever-present. Continued caution and stringent adherence to its SOPs are crucial to ensure the current situation stays under control. Without vigilance from every member of the public, and continued pressure from the government, this disease could spread easily and wreak havoc, it said.