ISLAMABAD: The recent surge in the novel coronavirus has recently claimed 458 more lives besides infecting at least 26,853 more people during the last one week only, thus surpassing 100,000 and 2,000 number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and related deaths across the country, respectively.
Earlier, the tally of Covid-19 confirmed cases had jumped to 101,468, with 2,032 deaths. Sindh has so far detected 38,108 cases, followed by Punjab where 37,090 cases have been recorded; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has confirmed 13,487 cases and Balochistan has found 6,516 positive cases. The federal capital has recorded 4,979 cases, Gilgit-Baltistan 927 and AJK 361 cases.
Amid the grim situation, the federal government reviewed the guideline for the third time and suggested that provincial governments should take strict action against those not wearing masks at public places.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza told a news conference that wearing face masks could reduce the chances of the contracting virus by 40 to 50 per cent.
“That is why we have reviewed our guidelines a third time, and now we are suggesting that provinces should take action against those who don’t wear masks. However, we leave it to the provinces what kind of action [fines, etc.] they want to take,” SAPM said.
Initially, it was suggested that people should wear face masks in crowded places. As a second step, it was announced that action would be taken against the shops, public transport, etc. which fail to implement the standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding wearing masks. It was later decided that the government would take action against the citizens found without face masks.
Strict monitoring would be done to see if standard operating procedures were being followed or not, the PM’s aide declared.
Dr Mirza said, “People at mosques, shops, public transport, markets and other crowded places must wear masks. Moreover, I want to say that those who are already suffering from different diseases and older people should be very careful, as 74pc of the deaths have been reported in over 50 years old patients. Moreover, 74pc of the patients, who died, were already suffering from some chronic disease such as diabetes, blood pressure, etc.”
He said the government’s target of conducting 30,000 tests a day would be achieved soon, as 23,100 tests were conducted, earlier.