Dr. Zafar Mirza, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health, said the two-week off and two-week shutdown recommendation is not going to be considered.
In his address, the State Health Minister indicated that it is not mandatory to obey World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines as the special agency only focuses on the pandemic.
“People thought that coronavirus ended with Ramadan but the government cannot overcome the epidemic until public changes its behavior.”
“Those sectors which are shut will continue to remain so. The government takes those decisions which are beneficial for people. We have to live with coronavirus.”
“The Government has adopted a well-thought-out strategy. COVID-19 cases will increase further in the coming days and if the situation worsens, lockdown could be implemented. Beds are to be distributed to provinces as appropriate.
It is appropriate here to note that the WHO wrote a letter to the government of Punjab and recommended that the following six conditions be fulfilled for any government that wishes to begin lifting restrictions:
1) Disease transmission is under control
2) Health system can “detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact”
3) Hot spot risks are minimized in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes
4) Schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventive measures
5) The risk of importing new cases “can be managed”
6) Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal
The WHO said that Pakistan did not meet any of the above conditions, and recommended that it follow two weeks off and two weeks on coronavirus strategy.