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Doctors warned about exponential spread of coronavirus in Pakistan


Please listen to the sane voices before easing the restrictions


There is no doubt that federal government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is under immense pressure to lift restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan. The traders and business organisations are demanding to open the shops and markets. As the government already allowed many businesses to open. The traders in Lahore-Karachi and Islamabad have already announced to open shops during the Ramzan. It has become a challenge for federal and provincial governments to keep the restrictions in place.
The government already granted the permission for congregational prayers in the mosques. The government succumbed to the pressure exerted by the religious right.  This decision comes at a time when number of cases and deaths are rising in the country. The opening of markets, shopping malls and other businesses means more people will be on streets and at the public places. This could pose a serious threat to people’s health. The number of coronavirus infected patients has increased to 10,000. There is real danger of exponential growth of virus in Pakistan if precautionary measures are not taken.
That is why the doctors and health experts are opposing the idea of opening businesses and allowing the mass prayers in mosques. The government must listen to the sane and expert voices before making such decisions.

Chairman of Prime Minister's National Task Force on Science and Technology renowned scientist Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman has warned about the coronavirus situation getting worse in the country.   "The government should carry out testing for 30,000-40,000 patients on a daily basis. So far we see merely 2,000-3,000 being tested," he said, in a conversation with the media.
"The data coming in of patients across the country is not indicative of the true picture. The real number of patients is much higher." Reiterating the need for testing, Dr Rahman said that the disease is "rapidly spreading like wildfire" and had brought even nations like the United States ”to its knees".
Speaking of the need for stringent containment measures to defeat the spread of the virus, he said that people who are leaving their homes without a good reason "should be thrown into jails. “If we don't take strict action now, things could get out of hand," he warned.
The top doctors of the country representing different medical organisations expressed their concerns about the decision to allow mass prayers. The eminent physicians of the country warned that if preventive measures were not taken, the number of COVID-19 cases could reach up to 70,000 by next month (May 15). We estimate that as many as 7,000 critical cases would require ventilators and the country do not have more than 3,500 ventilators, they claimed.

 “We are expecting easing of the lockdown and this can prove disastrous for Pakistan. If we don’t enforce the lockdown in letter and spirit, the projected number of Coronavirus cases can rise up to 70,000 by May 15. As many as 7,000 people would require life support but our country does not have the capacity to cater to even half of those patients.”
 They demanded banning all types of crowds and congregations, including those at supermarkets, shopping malls and mosques, saying people should avoid gathering at any place at least for one and a half to two months, so that transmission of coronavirus could be minimized as much as possible and asked the Ulema and people to offer prayers at homes.
They also demanded complete closure of shopping malls, supermarkets and stores and all other places where people gather at one place, saying this is the time when we should strictly implement the lockdown to ease the burden on the country’s fragile healthcare system.
These are expert and most sane voices of most respected doctors and health representatives. The government should listen to them carefully before making any decision on easing the restrictions. The government should take measures to save lives.
                                                                   The Editor

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