COVID Watch | 25th April 2020


WHO Issues Dire Warning To Pakistan

Director-General of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom, warns that Pakistan’s coronavirus cases may surge to 200,000 by July if effective measures are not undertaken immediately. The statement came during the virtual launch of Pakistan’s “National Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan” April 24. The UNWHO also announced the allocation of $595 million for the response plan to support the most vulnerable groups, strengthening healthcare, and enhance communications.

The virus has infected 11,500 Pakistanis to date, with around 200 casualties.

Nurses Demand Curfew

The Nurses Welfare Organization of Pakistan (NWOP) demanded during a press conference on April 24 a strict 15-day curfew across the nation to control the spread of the virus. The Secretary General of the NWOP, Faheem Abbas, stated that Pakistan currently has a 40% rate of infection, an alarmingly high number compared to other countries. So far, 253 healthcare workers have contracted the virus, among whom 3 nurses and 3 doctors had lost their lives. These numbers are expected to increase if restrictions are not implemented.

Mosque SOPs Disregarded

Law enforcement identified at least 22 areas in Karachi alone where the government’s 20-point SOP for congregational prayers was being openly disregarded. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, expressed his disappointment at the lack of concern and responsibility amongst clerics and warned that continued violations will prompt the federal government to reinstate restrictions on mosques.

Masks Mandatory In KP

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government ordained on April 24 that all citizens in the province must wear masks in public spaces, be they surgical masks or even pieces of cloth, to limit COVID-19 transmissions. People will be afforded a 72-hour window in which they are to purchase or construct masks, after which it will be necessary for the public in the province to wear masks. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health and Finance, Taimur Jhagra, said it was possible people may have to live with the virus for a few years in the least.

Children Going Unvaccinated

Gaps in children’s routine immunization during the prevailing lockdown may lead to severe outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as typhoid, measles, polio, and diphtheria, warn experts. In Sindh alone, routine vaccination has dropped by 60% in Sindh. A worrying number of measles and polio cases have emerged within the country since the beginning of the year.