Visiting delegation of medical professionals dismisses myth that coronavirus will perish in high summer temperatures
Health experts from China on Sunday urged the Punjab government to extend to at least 28 days the ongoing lockdown in the province to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
During a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid in Lahore, the delegation of medical professionals said social distancing was key to stopping the spread of the virus. “Authorities should ensure lockdown for at least 28 days,” they said. Timely response to the developing situation would prove beneficial to curb the spread of coronavirus, they added.
The Punjab government imposed a lockdown—or alternately ‘movement restrictions’ due to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s disdain for the term ‘lockdown’—on March 23 for an initial period of 14 days after a spike in cases in the province. Over the course of the past two weeks, it had relaxed these restrictions, allowing industries to resume operations and announcing that all construction activities would be allowed to restart by April 14.
On Monday, April 6, the government extended the lockdown till April 14, in line with an announcement last week by Planning Minister Asad Umar. The exempted industries, including textile mills and other export-oriented businesses, would be allowed to continue their operations during this time.
Currently, the province leads the nationwide tally of confirmed cases with nearly 1,500 patients, a large bulk of which have been reported from Raiwind among members of the Tablighi Jamaat.
During their meeting, the Chinese medical experts appreciated the steps taken by the provincial government thus far to curb the spread of the virus and shared their experiences from dealing with the pandemic in Wuhan city, where COVID-19 originated late last year before spreading across the globe.
However, they said that anyone testing positive for the virus should be treated at quarantine centers or at hospitals and not kept in their own homes—unlike the policy advised by the government, which has urged anyone with mild symptoms to self-isolate and only seek hospital admission if their situation worsens.
Clarifying a myth that the virus does not survive in high temperatures, and the coming summer would reduce its spread, the doctors said there was no evidence to support this claim.
Addressing the need for developing immunities to COVID-19, they said that in critical circumstances plasma treatment has proven useful. “Three anti-viral drugs have also been used successfully,” they said
The chief minister thanked the Chinese government for its support to Pakistan during this troubling time and said the two countries’ friendship had stood the test of time. “The efficiency with which Chinese authorities fought the battle against the epidemic is an example for the whole world and Pakistan will learn lesson your experiences,” Buzdar added.