WAH CANTT: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to record cases at a fast pace in Pakistan. As of midday on Tuesday, out of the total 903 cases, 394 are reported in Sindh, 265 in Punjab, 110 in Balochistan, 81 in AJK and G-B combined, 38 in K-P and at least 15 in the capital Islamabad. The fast increase in the number has now prompted the provincial governments to impose emergency, curfews and lockdown in many cities by promulgating section 144 for at least 15 days. During the lockdown, markets, malls, public places, property offices and housing scheme offices for public dealing will be completely shut down, while medical stores and grocers will remain open. All beauty parlours and saloons must remain closed. Pakistan has also closed down all flight operations for at least two weeks.
For now, Pakistan’s pace of fresh cases reported each day is faster than Italy, which raises grave concerns over the impact COVID-19 will have if it starts claiming lives in the country. It is a cause of concern because in the worst-case scenario the country’s weak healthcare system, ill-equipped hospitals and lack of testing and isolation setup would not be able to handle a worsening situation. It is important to take precautions. This is how we can help since we all are active agents in the spread. By isolating ourselves we prevent it from affecting more people.
Syeda Hijab Rizvi
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2020.