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Covid-19 in Pakistan: Govt finalizes Eid guidelines to prevent infection resurgence

SOPs have been reiterated, and smart lockdowns reinstated, as nation prepares for Eid-ul-Azha
by TR Pakistan

The numbers: The total number of covid-19 cases reported in Pakistan has reached 277,402. The cumulative toll of casualties due to coronavirus is 5,924. By Thursday morning, Punjab and Sindh reported 92,655 and 120,052 cases respectively. There have been confirmed reports of 33,845 infections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 11,708 infections in Balochistan, 2,090 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 2,065 in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and 14,987 in Islamabad. A total of 246,131 coronavirus patients have recovered thus far.

Another surge: A study conducted by Aga Khan University (AKU) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong shows that one in six Pakistani adults consider themselves and their family safe from the contagious virus despite a lack of precaution. Many Pakistani citizens were found to have a casual attitude toward the virus and believed that even if they were infected, they would probably survive. One of the researchers warned that the lack of concern and refusal to follow preventative measures among Pakistanis was worrying.

Underreporting concerns: Meanwhile, experts are concerned that the decline in coronavirus cases in Pakistan is possibly due to the infections and deaths being underreported. Due to the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha citizens have been warned to take precaution as travelling, and participating in large religious or family gatherings can increase the risk of infections and bring on a second wave of the virus in Pakistan.

SOPs reiterated: After the number of deaths due to coronavirus has been reduced by 80%, the government has made efforts to keep the death toll low. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been issued for cattle markets, online purchase of animals has been encouraged and SOPs for the slaughtering of animals and preventative measures were also issued to ensure that the citizens take precautions while preparing for Eid.

Smart lockdowns reinstated: The government also reinstated smart lockdowns ahead of the Eid days. This was done in order to avoid a similar situation as the previous Eid where crowded shopping malls and markets resulted in a sharp increase in covid-19 infections. In Punjab, smart lockdowns have been implemented before Eid, in Lahore and other cities. Arrangements including security, social distancing and precautionary measures for the Eid prayer congregations have also been made. The Balochistan government has also warned citizens to follow preventative measures during Eid, as a surge in covid-19 cases could lead to stricter lockdowns.

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