Pakistan is in the mid of disastrous coronavirus. The country has recorded a plethora of cases with several deaths. Consequently, the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote a letter to Pakistan for intermittent lockdown; the health agency also shared loopholes in the policy of the government. Reciprocally, several people including eminent social activists shared their views regarding the federal government policies.
Soon after Pakistan eased the lockdown, COVID-19 cases rapidly soared in the country. Currently, there are 113,702 cases in the country along with 2,244 deaths. Besides, WHO criticized the government for lifting a lockdown as Pakistan does not meet WHO recommendations to ease the lockdown.
Recommendations to life the lockdown.
- Disease transmission is under control
- Health systems are ready to “detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact”
- Hot spot risks are minimized in unprotected places, like nursing homes.
- Schools, workplaces and other primary places have established preventive measures
- The danger of importing new cases “can be managed”
- Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal (source: NPR)
Notwithstanding, Pakistan does not completely abide by the any of aforementioned recommendations. However, Pakistan lifted the lockdown, which led to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
What did the WHO say?
Primarily, WHO wrote the letter, to Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid. Moreover, Dr. Palitha Mahipala, WHO Country Head for Pakistan, penned the letter.
“Government intervention on April 12 detailing social distancing measures, including movement restrictions, closure of faculties and businesses, international travel restrictions, and geographic area restrictions were instituted with the aim of limiting the spread of the disease.”
The positivity rate is high, the closed-circuit television is weak, there’s limited capacity to supply for critical patients and therefore the population isn’t able to adapt to vary in behavior,” the letter stated.
Moreover, it reads, “these difficult decisions will require the need to balance the response directly to Covid-19 which includes intermittent lockdowns of targeted areas.”
The response of the govt
As per Dr. Yasmin Rashid, the letter was for the whole of Pakistan not only Pakistan. She said, in a news conference, “I am telling you since day one that the amount of cases is increasing, no data is being hidden.
“The main thing that they have said is to ensure the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs). This discussion has already taken place. The Punjab chief minister stressed on taking action in areas where there are violations, in his last meeting.
“The current situation, whatever WHO says, directly we will also treat patients, she said. The purpose of a lockdown is to stop the flooding of hospitals. We have a contingency plan…right now we have the capacity [to treat patients] and will increase it in the next 10 to 15 days.”
Besides, Dr. Zafar Mirza said that it is not mandatory to follow the recommendations of the organization. “Government has adopted a planned strategy to affect the coronavirus. People are advised to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for now, as we do have an option of lockdown.
He said, It is impossible to overcome coronavirus without changing attitudes. Moreover, he maintained, “the government knows what is in the best interest of people.”
Here is how people on social media reacted to the WHO letter and criticized the federal government.
The journalist Wajahat Kazmi said,
Remember how the govt handled this pandemic and plunged the country in a terrible tragedy.
TV host Shafaat Ali said,
WHO letter to Pakistan is embarrassing. While some were busy in petty politics, delusional denials, boasted our BCG immunity, and called a global pandemic ‘just the flu’, Sind Govt was focused on how to manage this crisis. We must have listened to them then and we must do it now.
Fahd Hussain said,
WHO has said Pakistan has been ranked among the top 10 countries in the world reporting the highest number of new cases of Covid-19 & advised the government to reinforce daily testing capacity to 50,000 to assess the particular prevalence of coronavirus across the country.
Author: Nadia Arshad, an SEO COntent Writer.