Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday appealed to the nation to mark the upcoming Eid Al Adha with simplicity and take precautionary measures so that the number of Covid-19 cases does not rise again.
He was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the Isolation Hospital and Infectious Treatment Centre (IHITC) in Islamabad.
"The virus spreads rapidly when a large number of people gather," said the premier, saying "carelessness" on Eid Al Fitr in May led to a spike in cases in Pakistan. "This led to pressure on our hospitals, our frontline workers also faced immense pressure, we unfortunately lost lives and the virus peaked.
"After Eid Al Fitr, we took steps to contain the virus, including imposing smart lockdowns and today, infections are decreasing. By the grace of the Almighty, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the cooperation of the provinces in implementing instructions — due to the joint efforts of everyone, Pakistan is now among those countries where infections are declining,” Imran said.
He said that it made a special appeal to people that if they were careless on Eid Al Adha, the virus could spread again and there could be a fresh spike in the number of infections. Hospitals will come under pressure again, therefore, people should mark the forthcoming Eid with simplicity.
Medical staff of the centre pose for a photograph.
The prime minister said the government has come up with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Eid Al Adha and how to carry out animal sacrifices. "I appeal to the entire nation to observe Eid with simplicity - for the sake of your country, its economy and especially the elderly and at-risk members of the society.
If we take care now, then we can manage, God willing, to come out of this pandemic better than other countries."
Earlier, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt-Gen Mohammad Afzal briefed the prime minister on the isolation centre.
The 250-bed, state-of-the-art medical facility has been constructed in a record forty days at a cost of about Rs980 million.
Planning Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing and other senior officials were also present at the inuaguration.
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