Pakistanis believe coronavirus can be defeated through national solidarity

Islamabad, March 16, IRNA -- Despite growing concerns against the spread of coronavirus and increasing cases in Pakistan, officials and celebrities are of the view that the virus will be defeated through national solidarity, proper hygiene and strong commitment.

Due to increasing coronavirus cases in Pakistan, officials, celebrities and known personalities are reaching out to the public to create awareness among the people on how to control the spread of the virus.

President Arif Alvi while terming war against coronavirus his own and personal problem has urged the countrymen to take responsibility of educating others about the precautions against the disease with frequent hand washing above all.

He advised the people to frequently wash hands as the most effective method to avoid the disease which could only be spread by touching the droplet from the carrier’s sneeze or cough, not through the air.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday met with eminent religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel and asked him to play his role in controlling the spread of coronavirus.

Popular singer and songwriter Ali Zafar has made song on how to fight coronavirus. Another singer Shahzad Roy also advised fans not to shake hands and practice social distancing.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said Monday the coronavirus cases in Pakistan would increase in the coming days but advised that there was no need to panic as the provincial government was taking action to contain the infection.

Awareness campaign has also been launched in the country and newspapers and tv channels are giving special ads on coronavirus.

The people due to fear of coronavirus are giving special attention to their hygiene and personal cleanliness.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui responding to IRNA queries said the government of Pakistan has taken a series of measures at all local, provincial and national levels for the safety of our people and for the spread of coronavirus.

“These include availability of testing kits in the hospitals cancellation of all conferences moots weddings congregations to avoid the spread,” she said.

The official said only three airports have international flight operations now and all educational institutions are closed for three weeks.

Spokesperson added borders on the West are closed for all movement and ‘at societal levels we are all exercising caution and personal hygiene.’

“Avoiding going out and being personally responsible towards our own and our family's health,” she said.

President of South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) University Maria Sultan, talking to IRNA said that first thing to understand is that the current pandemic is not a naturally accruing virus hence it’s outlay will also be generic in nature and will effect multiple ethnicities, meaning it is highly containtageous.

She said extreme care has to be taken in terms of preventive care and also to encourage people with the information. “The ability to isolate sick people from the healthy ones will be the only success,” said the expert.

The analyst said at the moment the message is out but the seriousness is not understood for that all government and security apparatus along with the disaster organisations have to be prepared.

She added the challenge is and will remain for the state to organize food resources during this pandemic in order to keep the pandemic at bay mining for a month for the entire country.

“We will have to isolate the sick as it is a genetically mutilated virus hence there is no cure but just better preventive measures,” she said.

Maria Sultan added we need to strictly observe the isolation code and even put potential areas under curfew.

She said the exodus should be done at all borders because by bringing people to the border they are infecting people at both sides of the border not just Pakistan and in particular the law enforcement personal.

“It is a global outbreak and need to be seen just like that our populations are at risk,” she noted.

Rizwana Abbasi, Senior Defense Analyst told IRNA said that up to yesterday Pakistan had reported only 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which included at least one localized case who did not travel abroad that led to community spread within the country thus climbing the record to 53 or more cases in a single day.

Professor at National University of Modern Languages said since WHO on Wednesday declared coronavirus a global pandemic, Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned a special meeting of the National Security Council, a body comprising top civil and military leadership, to discuss strategy to curb the further spread of coronavirus.

“The government has already created an emergency in the country while formulating a national coordination committee to implement a set of measures such as completely sealing of border with Afghanistan and Iran, restricting international flights, shutting down mass gatherings events, countrywide closure of the private and public sector educational institutions, the cinemas and theaters and Marriages halls,” she said.

The professor went on to say that the ruling government needs to initiate an urgent mass awareness campaign through electronic, print and social media in order to encourage public to exercise self-restraint, demonstrate responsibility and avoid public gatherings, thus managing growing panic and trauma.

“Awareness campaign on encouraging people to self-isolate for seven days if they begin to experience a persistent cough or high temperature and to continue with rigorous hygiene like frequently washing their hands and disinfecting surfaces,” said Dr Abbasi.

She was of the view that religious scholars should sensitize the public to pray at home and avoid visiting mosques for a couple of weeks, Juma Prayers need to be temporarily suspended in order to avoid mass gatherings.

“In places of essential work, social distancing should be followed along with sanitizing practice. Big Shopping Malls should be shut down,” said the analyst.

She said that the country wide online Pharmacies and grocery services practices should be activated to deliver items at doorstep.

“Rigorous Testing and screening methods need to be adopted not just at airports but at other transport spots such as railway stations and public transport like bus stations. Emergency funds need to be allocated for availability of medical help. Hospitals need to be empowered while schools and universities can be used for quarantine patients,” noted the scholar.

She said public usage of masks be made compulsory for all moving out of their living places and free masks and Hand sanitisers should be distributed to prevent the novel coronavirus and ensure hand hygiene. 

“Government should build effective national coordinated mechanism to ensure synergy to deal with the virus. Regional and global cooperative mechanisms should be adopted in order to remain actively vigilant to import best practices and learning lessons from other countries to deal with the pandemic,” said Rizwana Abbasi.

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