Need for caution

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan has done well by timely sensitizing people about dangers of another spike in the spread of Coronavirus. In a tweet on Sunday, he urged the nation to wear face masks in public to avoid a spike in Coronavirus infections, saying there were concerns that “onset of winter” could result in a second wave. He pointed out that compared to some other states, Allah Almighty has been kind to us and spared us from the worst effects of Covid-19 but cautioned against the continued threat and added all offices and educational institutions must ensure masks are worn.
It is true that the Covid-19 situation was not as bad in Pakistan as in some other countries of the world, which are still struggling to cope with the virus. Despite massive resources at its disposal, a country like the United States finds it difficult to check the spread of the virus where President Donald Trump and his wife have recently been diagnosed with the disease and media reports say Nick Luna, one of the closest aides of President Trump, contracted virus on Sunday, becoming the latest in the White House to test positive for the virus. The situation in India is also precarious where September proved to be worst as the country added 41% of cases and 34% of death. In this backdrop, Muslim countries including Pakistan are lucky to be returning to normalcy and in the latest development first group of pilgrims performed Umra at Makkah Mukarramah and depending upon the situation the Kingdom has plans to allow pilgrims from other countries to visit the holy land. Nothing can be said with certainty about possibility of spread of the virus in winter as the disease has demonstrated unpredictable behaviour and pattern in different regions of the globe but it is better to adopt preventive measures particularly in view of indications already available that the virus was hitting some areas and regions again.
The situation in Sindh and particularly in Karachi is deteriorating with the passage of each day ever since full-fledged activities of life resumed in the country. As per latest reports, as many as 380 teaching and non-teaching staff members of private and government schools have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Sindh, with 246 of the infections reported in Karachi alone. It is appreciable that the provincial government is not resting as it is taking required measures to monitor the situation effectively. A report released on Sunday by Directorate General Monitoring and Evaluation said that 2,108 educational institutes in 29 districts were inspected for compliance with pandemic-related standard operating procedures (SOPs), adding that 857 schools were found violating social distancing guidelines, 1,039 did not have proper facilities to wash hands or sanitizers, the classrooms at 807 schools were not being disinfected, 1,204 schools did not have clean toilets and 1,352 schools did not display guidelines about Coronavirus.
This speaks volumes about vigilance of the Sindh government as well as care free attitude of the people and institutions. One can gauge the intensity of the threat from the decision taken, in principle, by the Azad Kashmir government to reimpose territory-wide lockdown after a rise in Coronavirus infections. Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, while providing the basis for the lockdown, said that the territory’s Coronavirus positivity rate had surged to 8.3% — higher than any area in Pakistan. The AJK Premier directed authorities to begin checking at entry points. He also said that government-issued safety protocols should be implemented in public transport and educational institutions. There is clear evidence that the threat is not over yet and people ought to observe strictly the guidelines issued by the authorities concerned. The Government relaxed Corona-related curbs and restrictions to mitigate economic pressure that people were facing due to country-wide lockdown. The decision of the Government brought an end to the sufferings of the people but it is responsibility of every one of us to cooperate fully in containing the virus. The situation can be tackled effectively if people voluntarily opt for masks and the practice of sanitizing hands frequently. Precautionary measures will have to be adopted till an authentic and effective vaccine is available for which presently claims are being made by a hundreds of companies from different countries.

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