Thursday, November 26, 2020

COVID-19 increasing in Pakistan: Will government impose lockdown?

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Pakistan has reported twenty deaths in the last 24 hours by novel coronavirus as the number of positive cases has surged to 332,186. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 6,795 on Friday.

According to the latest figures by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 1,078 persons have been tested positive for COVID-19 in 24 hours and the figure has crossed the 1,000 mark for first time since July 30.

Sindh remains the worst-hit province by the pandemic in terms of both cases and casualties followed by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Till now 145,238 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 103,831 in Punjab, 39,361 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 15,887 in Balochistan, 19,594 in Islamabad, 4,229 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 4,046 in Azad Kashmir.

Read More: Pakistanis to participate in clinical trials of ‘Made in China’ coronavirus vaccine

Although the cases are persistently increasing, yet the government is unlikely to impose the lockdown. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been of the view that people may die of hunger if a strict lockdown is imposed. There are several other options including the imposition of Section 144 to stop the spread of virus.

DC Islamabad imposes Section 144

The Deputy Commissioner (Islamabad) Hamza Shafqaat has imposed Section 144 and directed to wearing face-masks mandatory in all public places to combat the ongoing spread of deadly coronavirus. The Section 144 in capital will be for two months and notification has been issued here on Wednesday.

The Deputy Commissioner said anyone who is seen without a face mask will be prosecuted under Section 144 and charged with Section 188 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). We will never spare violators in this regard, he warned. He says that we have taken this decision due to increasing cases of coronavirus. He appreciated the role of surveillance teams of District Health Office (DHO), Islamabad because they are strictly monitoring sensitive areas. “On the recommendations of DHO, I have directed to impose ‘Smart Lockdown’ in several areas sectors and streets of federal capital, Islamabad,” he said.

Read More: Japan all praise for Pakistan Army for success in fighting coronavirus

The DHO, Dr Muhammad Zaeem Zia said despite again and again requests to wear face mask but people of federal capital, Islamabad took this issue non-seriously. The coronavirus cases are increasing due to non-serious attitude of public, he said. We have sealed several government and private educational institutions to appearing of coronavirus cases in Islamabad and we will continue this practice in future, he warned. He said that initially we have imposed Section 144 wearing mask mandatory for two months but it will extend to monitor the attitude of people.

How did Pakistan deal with coronavirus?

Experts are mulling over the question as to what helped Pakistan combat the COVID-19 outbreak. A young population, robust immune systems, and a system of localized “smart” lockdowns have all been touted as reasons for the fall in cases, but health officials admit the actual reasons still remain unclear.

“One ought to have a little humility in this,” Dr Faisal Sultan, an infectious diseases expert who worked as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser for COVID-19, told to the Telegraph that, “There are always great unknowns in science and epidemiology and complex social sciences and interactions. If anyone says they really know a final answer, they are wrong.”

“I think it’s a little bit of many things. Part of it is we are just lucky and the age distribution of the country is such that we were expected to have as many severe cases as you would expect in say the US, or Italy or the UK,” he added.

Read More: Pakistan increases healthcare budget to deal with coronavirus

Volkan Bozkir, president-elect of the United Nations General Assembly, has endorsed the country’s gains in the fight against the pandemic. Bill Gates, an American business magnate and philanthropist, has also lauded Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak in a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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