The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Saturday expressed its concerns over the federal government’s decision to reopen all sectors at the same time and also recommended measures that should be taken for allowing educational institutions to operate from next month.
“[The PMA] is surprised over the decision to open all sectors at the same time,” Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad, the secretary general of the doctors association, said in a statement.
“We are still under quarantine period for monitoring coronavirus cases after Eidul Azha,” he added. “After five to six days, we will be able to know how many new cases have emerged after Eid.”
The PMA official said the government had apparently made the decision to reopen almost sectors “in haste” because of the upcoming Independence Day, Muharram and Rabiul Awwal. He added that the decision should have been made after these events.
The federal government has allow the reopening of restaurants, hotels, cinemas, beauty parlours, gyms and other businesses in the hospitality and recreational sectors from Monday in the wake of the decline in Covid-19 cases and fatalities.
Restrictions on the tourism sector, which includes hotels, have been lifted on Saturday. Restaurants, cinemas and other businesses as well as shrines and expo centres will reopen from Monday.
The PMA secretary general noted that processions and religious gatherings would be held during Muharram and Rabiul Awwal.
“It has been observed that 80% to 85% people do not follow SOPs [standard operating procedures] nowadays. Even in government offices people do not adopt preventive measures,” he added.
Dr Sajjad acknowledged that the number of cases of coronavirus and deaths were decreasing in Pakistan from the month of July. “But unfortunately as per our information the number of cases is increasing in Skardu, Gilgit and other nearby areas,” he maintained.
The PMA official feared that there could be coronavirus cases could resurge and increase the burden on hospitals and healthcare workers similar to what happened after Eidul Fitr.
“Other countries eased their lockdowns and opened different sectors at a time when their cases decreased. Now again cases have increased in the second phase in the countries like the US, UK, Brazil, Australia, China and South Korea,” he warned.
According to the PMA’s report, 101 doctors and 24 paramedics embraced martyrdom in the fight war against coronavirus.
The PMA again requested citizens to follow the SOPs — wear masks, maintain social distancing, wash or sanitise your hands and avoid going out and into crowds.
“The government should implement the SOPs strictly. It should maintain the economic activities and also keep the public safe from coronavirus.”
The PMA official appreciated the government’s decision to review the situation before allowing the reopening of schools.
“We suggest that coronavirus test (antibodies test) of all staff members including van drivers and attendants should be done before the reopening of educational institutions,” he said.
The association suggested stepwise reopening of educational institution. Primary and pre-primary classes should be allowed after the reopening of other educational institutions.