Doctors’ warning about virus lockdown ‘politically motivated’: PTI leader

Shahbaz Gill says Sindh govt using a few medical professionals to push its agenda

​ Our Correspondent April 23, 2020
Prominent doctors of the country exhorted the federal government to impose a stricter lockdown. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI: PTI leader Shahbaz Gill on Thursday claimed that the news conference by doctors in Karachi a day earlier where they called for a stricter lockdown was “politically motived “ and the Sindh government was using a few medical professionals to push its narrative.

“Unfortunately when the Sindh government grew tired of doing politics over coronavirus, it pushed forward the province’s doctors for this purpose,” he tweeted.

“I urge these few political doctors to leave the politics to the Sindh government,” he added.

Gill said the countrywide coronavirus strategy was chalked out at the National Command and Operation Centre on Covid-19 in the presence of medical professionals.

In response, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said the provincial government’s efforts against the disease were being acknowledged by everyone except the “incompetent” members of the PTI.

“We need a unified strategy to deal with the pandemic instead of resorting to such politics,” he added.

“We need to see who is actually fighting the disease and who is merely begging at this time.”

On Wednesday, prominent doctors of the country exhorted the federal government to impose a stricter lockdown and also urged religious scholars and citizens to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

Indus Hospital CEO Dr Abdul Bari, Pakistan Medical Association General Secretary Dr Qaiser Sajjad and medical professionals, at a joint press conference in Karachi, opposed the deal between clerics and the government on congregational prayers and opening of mosques during Ramazan.

Criticising the government, they said the authorities had taken several wrong steps in countering the pandemic, adding that religious leaders were not properly briefed on the seriousness of the situation.

Dr Bari said that they did not want mosques to be closed but only its administrative staff should be allowed to offer prayers inside.

He said as taraweeh prayers were not obligatory, they could be offered at home.

“Covid-19 cases would continue to increase exponentially over the next four weeks. A 40% rise had been observed in a mere five days,” he added.

He also said all dedicated critical care wards for coronavirus patients in various hospitals across Karachi were nearly out of capacity, disclosing that the Indus Hospital, Aga Khan University Hospital and Dow University Hospital were full while Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplant were at 80% saturation.

Dr Sajjad said the government and clerics had made the wrong decision by allowing congregational prayers. Though mosques not following the government’s requirements would be closed, he warned that by that time, it may be too late.