COVID-19 To Last Till June
While the curve seems to be flattening the world, indicating the spread of the virus may be controlled for countries such as the US by May, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza estimated that the pandemic would endure in Pakistan at least until June. Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has supplied personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to nearly 360 hospitals across Pakistan.
Doctors Push For Curfew
The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Balochistan urged the provincial government during a press conference on April 26 to impose a strict 2-week lockdown to mitigate the spread of the virus and help prevent the collapse of an already burdened healthcare system. On the other hand, doctors in Lahore have declared a hunger strike organized by Grand Health Alliance Punjab to protest the lack of PPE.
Mosques Violating SOP
A survey conducted by the Pattan Development Organization found that over 80% of 194 mosques across 15 cities in Punjab, including the federal capital territory, are failing to implement the 20-point SOP for congregational prayers agreed upon by top clerics. According to the survey, around 90% of worshippers did not wear masks, while 70% failed to observe the recommended 2 meter distance and were performing ablution at mosques.
Protest at Expo Quarantine
Quarantined patients at the Expo Center in Karachi staged protests within the quarantine facility due to mismanagement, delays in tests, unsatisfactory meals, and poor sanitary conditions. Around 300 quarantined individuals are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. According to a management official, testing is delayed due to a shortage of kits, forcing patients to remain in quarantine for extended periods of time.
21 Policemen Infected
An employee at the internal accounting department of the Central Police Office in Lahore tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of infected policemen to 21. A 2 week supply of surgical masks have been provided to the Central Police Office staff, while distribution among another personnel underway.
Thalassemia Patients At Risk
Depleting blood stocks due to virus fears and the prevailing lockdown restricting movement has put Thalassemia patients in Punjab awaiting life-saving transfusions at risk. The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), from support and instructions from the provincial government, managed to collect 250 pints of blood through blood donation camps.
20 Million Jobs At Risk
Labour unions and leaders called on the federal and provincial governments to issue unemployment allowances for laborers left jobless amidst the pandemic under a universal social security system at the Karachi Press Club on April 26. Economic experts estimate that 20 million people will lose employment if the virus persists – executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karamat Ali, stated that labor unions are working closely with 10 economic experts to draw up recommendations for a social security system to be presented to President Arif Alvi for consideration.