KARACHI: The Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) has recommended the closure of shopping plazas, marriage halls, and other public gathering places to control the rapid increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the Sindh province as COVID-19 entered a more severe phase during the second wave.
These views were expressed by Dr Sohail Akhtar, Dr Misbah ul Aziz, Dr Fayyaz Alam, and Dr Zishan Ansari in a joint press conference held at the Karachi Press Club (KPC).
Dr Sohail Akhtar said that the second wave of COVID-19 is here after three months of a low level of cases in August of October 2020. The positivity rates from below two percent have risen to eight percent at the national level. He informed that in a few big cities, the situation is very alarming, including Karachi, with a positivity rate above 18 percent, which is not far from the dreadful situation in May-June 2020.
In Pakistan, the damage was not as much after the first surge as feared. The resultant euphoria and false sense of security after the first wave have unfortunately made everyone complacent, be it the common man or the government.
He explained that there is evidence that this second wave has come with more rapid speed in many countries of the world. In Pakistan, the rapid rise in cases and an increasing number of deaths in the last month is a stark reminder. The number of cases started increasing to more than 2000 cases per day around 20th May 2020. Within three weeks, it reached a climax of about 7000 cases per day. As of today, we have reached a dangerous 3500 cases per day and a positivity rate of 8 percent. It means that the rapid rise has to be halted rapidly to avoid a catastrophe like earlier.
Dr Misbah Ul Aziz lamented that the general public, the federal government, concerned provincial authorities, and local government seems non-serious in containing the coronavirus during the severe second wave as compared to the past. He observed that the situation would go from bad to worse if preventive measures are not taken on time as most public, and private sector hospitals have already been facing a shortage of beds to accommodate more patients.
He stressed the need to implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) and ban all kinds of public gatherings across Pakistan, including Sindh, to control the further spread of the coronavirus.
Dr Fayyaz Alam urged the federal government to stop behaving like a stepmother to the people of Karachi and announced a health card for Karachities as well. He said that Karachi is the country’s economic hub, and citizens and healthcare workers of the city should be given a health insurance card.