‘Strict restrictions’ inevitable as second wave of coronavirus sweeps across Pakistan - GulfToday

‘Strict restrictions’ inevitable as second wave of coronavirus sweeps across Pakistan


Women wearing face masks shop at a market in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. File

Tariq Butt, Correspondent

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Health Dr Faisal Sultan says the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Pakistan.

"Strict restrictions are inevitable, given the rise in coronavirus deaths and the positivity ratio across Pakistan,” he told reporters in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Dr Sultan said a few weeks ago, 400-500 cases were being reported across Pakistan on a daily basis. The tally, he said, had shot up to 700-750 cases of the infection per day.

"The coronavirus death rate has risen," he said, adding that the positivity ratio had surged to 2.5-2.75 per cent. He said the second wave had begun in Pakistan as masses were not adhering to coronavirus precautions.

Now, Pakistan is entering a phase where we need to tighten coronavirus curbs, he said, adding that an official plan would be formulated soon. "Our focus — tightening coronavirus restrictions — would be more on the cities and areas where the positivity ratio of the virus is high.”

Dr Sultan said that authorities were mulling over several plans and recommendations to impose restrictions to stem the spread of the virus. "We urge local administrations to implement coronavirus SOPs (standard operating procedures)," he said and warned that the government would impose a fine on people who did not follow coronavirus SOPs in public places.

The special assistant said that business timings across the country may be reduced in light of the growing cases of the pandemic. He said that business timings that were in place during the pandemic may be restored again.

Dr Sultan said that the government was mulling over setting up a hotline so that the citizens could inform authorities when coronavirus SOPs were being violated. "Restrictions are hard on the people and no government wishes to impose them," he said, adding that if people follow coronavirus safety measures, Pakistan could beat this wave as well.

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