ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said next two-and-a-half months are crucial as the peak of coronavirus is expected around August, and it could be curbed by religiously following the government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“We expect that cases of coronavirus in Pakistan will hit their peak by the end of July or August after which there will be a decline,” the prime minister said while addressing the nation.
He once again appealed to the nation to follow the SOPs in every field of life, especially in markets and business places, since it was the only way to arrest the speed of pandemic’ s spread. “If you seriously follow the SOPs, we will be able to reduce the pace of Covid-19’ s spike and thus there will be no extra burden of patients on our hospitals,” he added.
Stressing the need for making it mandatory for everyone to wear a mask whenever they move outside their homes, the prime minister said: `The world has concluded that wearing masks can reduce the spread of coronavirus by 50 per cent.
On inadequate public response to the government’s preventive measures, he regretted that majority of people were mocking the SOPs, thinking the virus was just the common flu. “If we continue to ignore SOPs, then we are putting the lives of our aged people and those already suffering from diabetes and blood pressure in danger,” he warned, urging the people, “Whenever to go into public places, follow the guidelines that have been issued by the government.”
Talking about the option of lockdown, PM Khan said the entire world now understood that lockdowns were not a solution to the pandemic. “Although lockdown restrictions slow down the spread of the virus, we must also realise that Pakistan is a developing country and that we had no choice but to reopen the country. The entire world has understood that lockdowns aren’t a solution,” he maintained.
He said that countries like the United States, where more than 100,000 people died due to the deadly virus, had reopened their businesses but with strict SOPs. “Only precautionary measures can help defeat coronavirus,” he added.
Similarly, he said, Pakistan could not afford further lockdown as there was a dire need to keep businesses open to run the wheel of the economy and save people, especially daily wage earners and traders, from hunger. “Keep your business open, but it is my appeal to adhere to the government SOPs must till July and August,” he added.
The prime minister said the government was fully aware of the problems of the working class and traders and, therefore, relaxed the lockdown by keeping a balance between economic activities and precautions.
“Our experts have observed that the virus will spread and today, Fm here to tell you that if we follow standard operating procedures and take precautionary measures, we can manage the pandemic,” he added.
“If we are not taking precautionary measures, we are putting ourselves, our people and our country in danger. Please take SOPs seriously for your loved ones, for the elderly and for those who have other ailments, otherwise, we will come under the worst situation,” he said.
Talking about the present capacity of hospitals to cater to Covid-19 patients, the prime minister said that besides other facilities, 1,000 additional beds with oxygen facility were being provided this month to ease pressure on hospitals. He said the government had launched a mobile application called Nigehban Pakistan which provided people details of hospitals dealing with Covid-19 patients in their vicinity. “People can learn through the app which hospitals are close to them and what facilities are being provided in them,” he added.