Imran Khan addresses the Legislative Assembly of Azad Kashmir. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that the government expects Pakistan's coronavirus cases will peak by the end of July or August and urged people to wear masks.
"We already know that the virus will spread, the trend that our experts have observed is that it spreads, then peaks and then the curve flattens. And the purpose behind flattening the curve is to reduce pressure on hospitals,” he said during a televised speech.
A family wearing face masks crosses a street at a market area in Karachi. AFP
"Today, I'm here to tell you that if we follow standard operating procedures and take precautionary measures, we can manage the pandemic. Our cases are expected to peak by the end of July or August, and then transmission will reduce. So, today I appeal to you, not for me, for you: Please take precautions for your loved ones, for the elderly and for those who have other ailments."
Imran urged citizens to wear face masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus. He said that majority of the people were flouting SOPs (standard operating procedures), thinking the virus was just a common flu. "If we continue to ignore SOPs, then we are putting the lives of the vulnerable in danger," he said.
"Please wear masks, this is very important. The world has realised that masks can prevent the spread by up to 50 per cent. Secondly, when you venture into public places, follow the guidelines that have been issued by the government."
The prime minister said only precautionary measures can help to defeat the coronavirus. The entire world, he said, has now understood that lockdowns are not a solution for the Covid-19 pandemic.
"When a country imposes lockdown restrictions, the spread of the virus is slowed down. But we must also realise that Pakistan is a poor country and that we had no choice but to reopen the country. The entire world has understood that lockdowns aren't a solution. The United States, which now has the highest number of cases and deaths, has reopened their country and decided to reopen their country with SOPs."
Talking to media men about prevailing the coronavirus situation in Islamabad on Wednesday evening, he assured that distribution of funds to the deserving families will be totally merit-based, transparent and non-political what may come.
The sealing of high-risk area comes as Pakistan reported 6,472 news cases on Saturday, the country's highest single-day total. Pakistan has confirmed a total of 132,405 cases, including 2,551 deaths.
India has also closed a border with neighbouring Myanmar to counter the coronavirus outbreak, as countries across South Asia reported a rise in cases on Wednesday. No cases have so far been confirmed in Myanmar.
"We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Wednesday.
On Saturday, large crowds, carrying placards calling for "freedom" and an end to the "tyranny" of the restrictions, gathered outside the Buckingham Palace before moving on to Trafalgar Square, the BBC reported.
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