‘Nearly 50% Pakistanis yet to take precautionary steps against coronavirus’

Survey reveals only 26% people are using medical masks for protection against COVID-19

Our Correspondent March 31, 2020
Only 26pc Pakistanis say they are using medical masks for protection against coronavirus. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI: As many as 43% of all Pakistanis have not taken any precautionary measures to protect themselves from coronavirus so far, according to a recent Gallup International survey.

The survey declared this as the highest percentage of citizens among the 28 nations that took part in the poll, ringing alarm bells for Pakistan where over 1,900 people have already been tested positive for COVID-19 with 26 casualties.

The survey, conducted in March 2020, declared that nearly half of the Pakistani population is still not serious about the contagious disease which infected more than half a million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – more than 30,000 of them have died and counting.

Adult men and women of all four provinces in the country participated in the survey that asked only one question, “Which of the following precautionary procedures, if any, have you adopted to protect yourself from this virus: Using medical masks, wearing gloves, using hand sanitizer, washing hands frequently, staying in the house/limiting social interaction, self-quarantining?"

Only 26% Pakistanis said they are now using medical masks for protection against coronavirus, 13% said they are wearing hand gloves, while only 10% claimed using hand sanitizer, 43% agreed that they are washing their hands more frequently, 20% said they are limiting their social interaction by staying indoors, and only 3% admitted that they have put themselves in self-quarantine.

On the other hand, disturbingly at least 43% admitted that they have not taken any precautionary procedures as yet.

Citizens ignore ban on congregational prayers in Sindh

Pakistan, despite its close proximity with China, remained coronavirus-free until February 26 when a young man from Karachi tested positive after returning from Iran – one of the worst-hit countries. After a brief hiatus following the first case, COVID-19 cases spiked as more pilgrims returning from Iran tested positive for the virus.

The nationwide tally of COVID-19 patients has now crossed 1,900 with 676 cases in Sindh, 676 in Punjab, 153 in Balochistan, 221 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 166 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 58 in Islamabad and six in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has so far claimed 26 lives in Pakistan, while over 65 COVID-19 patients have fully recovered.

In neighbouring India, the numbers suggest that the situation is a little better than Pakistan. 70% Indians said they are now using medical masks for protection against coronavirus, 13% said they are wearing hand gloves, 64% claimed to be using hand sanitizer, 82% said that they are washing their hands more frequently, 60% said they are limiting their social interaction by staying in the house, 16% claimed to be in self-quarantine.

People in Afghanistan seem to have grasped the significance of  precautionary measures against the virus better than anyone else in the region as 74% said they are now using medical masks, 32% said they are wearing hand gloves, 52% claimed to be using hand sanitizer, 80% agreed that they are washing their hands more frequently, 34% said they have limited their social interaction by staying in the house, 4% are self-quarantining, while only 12% admitted that they have not taken any precautionary procedures as yet.

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