Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health claims coronavirus spread can be reduced by 40-60 percent if everyone starts covering their face
The government has decided to penalize anyone who does not wear a face mask in public places—especially in shops, mosques and on public transport—Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza announced on Sunday.
“We already made masks mandatory, but we have seen that people are not following the government’s SOPs [standard operating procedures],” he told a press conference on Sunday, adding that authorities had already started to take action against those violating orders. The form of penalty, clarified Mirza, would be decided by the provinces, noting some could opt to impose fines, while others could require harsher measures.
The de facto health minister claimed that if every citizen started to wear face masks while in public, the spread of COVID-19 could be reduced by 40 to 60 percent. He said the government was continuously updating its guidelines according to the ones underlined by the World Health Organization.
Mirza urged the elderly to adhere to all SOPs, noting that thus far 74 percent of the casualties caused by COVID-19 in Pakistan were among people over the age of 50. “It is very important you protect the aged people of your family and those who have a health history such as diabetes or high blood pressure,” he said.
Summarizing the facilities dedicated for coronavirus patients in Pakistan, the special assistant to the P.M. said it was “thankful” that the country had a 34 percent recovery rate of infected thus far. He said that 5,000 people were admitted to hospitals across the country, adding 260 of them were on ventilators. “Around 75 percent of ventilators are free at the moment, yet we hear news of hospitals being overburdened,” he said.
Referring to the government’s Resource Management System, which has been linked to the Pak Nighban app, Mirza said citizens could learn details about available beds, ventilators and other health facilities at hospitals by logging in.
“We have news that, last night, six patients got treatment in time because of the system,” he said, claiming the system would help more people in the days to come. He regretted all the lives that had been lost because of the virus so far.
“Each life lost grieves us,” he said, urging the public to follow the guidelines provided by the government to ensure minimal loss of life was recorded.