Covid-19 takes toll on Pakistan as majority ignore SOPs

Islamabad Telegraph report

Islamabad: Third wave of Covid-19 takes toll on Pakistan as country recorded more than two hundred Covid-19 deaths in a day for the first time since the start of the pandemic in South Asian Muslim country of 210 million peoplelast year.

Government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has said situation was becoming dangerous and it is considering stricter lockdowns across country.

Reports suggested a total of 201 new deaths were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the country’s overall death toll from the virus to 17,530, according to the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which oversees the government’s pandemic response. The previous highest daily death count was 157 recorded on April 23.

A total of 5,292 new cases were reported on Tuesday, bringing the total cases to 810,231.

The national positivity ratio, the number of infections among those tested, was 10.8 per cent. The death rate, the number of infections resulting in fatalities, hit the highest point since the start of the pandemic, reaching around 2.2pc.

It is worth nothing that Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday indicated that the government might go for complete lockdown in coronavirus-hit cities and stressed the need for smooth supplies of food items during lockdown.

“The prime minister has directed that food supplies should be improved if we go for complete lockdown,” said federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in a press conference after weekly cabinet meeting.

The cabinet meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Khan, decided that Iran would be asked to export oxygen to Pakistan for Covid-19 patients on humanitarian basis by relaxing the ban the neighbouring country had imposed on oxygen export due to the alarming situation of Covid-19 it was facing.

Keeping in view the Covid-19 catastrophe in India, the meeting also decided to increase local production of oxygen by 250 tonnes per day and reduce use of oxygen in some industries. On this, Minister for Industries Khusro Bakhtiyar is holding an important meeting on Wednesday (today) with all stakeholders.

Meanwhile a first information report (FIR) was registered against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra and the owner and manager of a restaurant in Peshawar for violating coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) by hosting an iftar party on Monday.

Dawn quoted Peshawar Assistant Commissioner Ehteshamul Haq as saying that the administration took timely action after pictures of the iftar were shared on social media.

The photos show that Jhagra and others are not observing social distancing and the health minister has not donned a face mask either. Dining at restaurants was banned by authorities last week to curb the spread of the coronavirus in major cities of KP, including Peshawar.

Haq said Jhagra had iftar and dinner with a dozen people in the restaurant, adding that they had brought their own food.

“There will not be any kind of compromise on coronavirus SOPs. If SOPs are violated, the law will come into action,” he stressed.

He added that the restaurant had been sealed.

The FIR was registered under Sections 6 to 17 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Epidemic Control and Emergency Relief Act, 2020. These sections are related to attendance in public places, prohibition or restriction of events and gatherings, movement and retention of potentially infectious person to a suitable place, duty to undergo screening and assessment, and duty to inform

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