Dr Faisal Sultan says Pakistan is witnessing 700 coronavirus cases on a daily basis. PHOTO: FILE

‘Second coronavirus wave has begun in Pakistan’

Dr Faisal hints at imposing new restrictions, asks masses to be more careful about the situation

Our Correspondent October 27, 2020

Fears of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic starting in the country have come true and the return of strict restrictions to curb the spread of the disease has become inevitable, the prime minister’s aide on health said on Tuesday.

Around 400 to 500 [coronavirus] cases were being reported in the country every day in the country a few weeks ago. This has gone up to 700 to 750 cases per day now,” Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said at news conference.

"The [Covid-19] positivity ratio has jumped to 2.5 to 2.75%. The death rate has also increased,” he added.

“Citizens are no longer taking precautionary measures even though the pandemic is far from over in the country.”

The SAPM said with the beginning of the second coronavirus wave, strict restrictions would need to be imposed again and a plan would for this purpose would be chalked out son.

He added that the restrictions would be tightened in the cities where the positivity ratio of the virus was high.

“We cannot allow citizens to visit public places without wearing masks and neglect other guidelines.”

The PM’s aide said new recommendations would be presented soon in consultation in all the provinces.

“Several plans and recommendations are already being considered to stem the spread of the virus.

The SAPM elaborated that business timings across the country could be reduced in view of the spike in cases.

“Business timings that were in place earlier [before the lifting of the restrictions] might be restored again.”

Furthermore, he added, fines would be imposed for violating coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The government is also planning to set up a hotline so that the citizens could inform the authorities about the violation of coronavirus SOPs.

The PM’s aide said restrictions were tough for the people and no government wanted to impose them.

“Hopefully, we will beat this [second coronavirus wave] if the people follow guidelines.”

A virtual meeting of the vice-chancellor's committee has been convened on Wednesday (today) wherein closing the universities again and disinfecting their premises would be discussed.

The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19 has recently disclosed that the average positivity rate of the disease had risen by 40%.

The national body on the country’s coronavirus response was also expressed its concerns over the increasing number of hospital admissions and deaths from the virus.

It was also noted that Muzafarabad, Hyderabad, Karachi and Gilgit have a higher positivity ratio among other areas across the country.

The NCOC had warned against another lockdown if the SOPs continued to be violated.

The chief secretaries of all provinces were asked to ensure that SOPs were implemented strictly and special attention was paid to high risk sectors including transport, markets, wedding halls, restaurants and public gatherings.

According to the NCOC daily update issued on Tuesday, 773 more people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. The virus also claimed the lives of six more people.



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