By Hamid Khan Wazir
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The life-taking Coronavirus rears its ugly head, as a constant increase in positivity percentage and prevalence of COVID-19 has been witnessed in the Country during the last two weeks, posing a serious and imminent threat to public health.
The recent upsurge in the cases is mainly contributed to the lack of compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs), prompting the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) to issue fresh health guidelines and new restrictions to contain the spread of the virus.
Pakistan was among very few countries that effectively managed to flatten the curve due to the government’s smart lockdown approach coupled with National Test, Track and Quarantine (TTQ) policy.
The government and Prime Minister Imran Khan got acclamation from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom, who praised the Pakistani government’s response against coronavirus and “recognized the positive trend of virus curtailment” in the Country.
The WHO Chief appreciated how Pakistan had reinforced the lesson that saving the economy and fighting the virus could go hand-in-hand and the International Community should learn from the Country as how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the situation is getting fast deteriorating in the country once against due to the careless attitude demonstrated at all levels; triggering a dangerous surge in death cases, as the death toll march past 7,000.
During the last 24 hours, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) collectively recorded 429 Coronavirus cases and six more fatalities.
According to the detail, out of the total death tolls, Sindh remained in the top with 2,690 deaths followed by Punjab with 2,429.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 1,294 deaths so far, Balochistan 154, Islamabad 247, Gilgit-Baltistan 93, and 114 deaths have been confirmed from Azad Jammu and Kashmir hitherto.
With the second wave of Covid-19 intensifying, Punjab has reported more 500 daily cases for the first time since July.
The Punjab government’s Coronavirus portal shows that Punjab recorded 502 new infections in the last 24 hours, taking its total to 107,831..
The province has also reported 9 more deaths from the Coronavirus, taking the total number of fatalities to 2,429.
Owing to the alarming upsurge, several localities in Rawalpindi and Multan have been declared as coronavirus hotspots and put under lockdown with immediate effect, according to notifications from the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department.
The notifications said there had been a “constant increase in positivity percentage and prevalence of COVID-19 in the province of Punjab during the last two weeks which poses a serious and imminent threat to public health”, adding that all possible measures needed to be taken to control the spread of the virus.
Keeping in view the gravity of the situation, the government had already ordered a work-from-home policy for half of the staff in both public and private sector offices and relatively broader smart lockdowns in the urban centers of the Country as part of the second phase of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, the NCOC banned indoor wedding gatherings from November 20, as the new cases of the viral disease continued to rise.
However, the virus could only be contained by showing maturity to comply with the health-related preventive guidelines, as at present all the political parties are equally responsible for risking public life by holding public rallies.
The nation as a whole needs to show maturity and ensure strict adherence to the SOPs because the countrymen can’t afford the suspension of business activities and closure of education institutes anymore.