Religious Affairs minister assures public that country will not impose any restrictions on mosques during Ramzan
President Arif Alvi and Defense Minister Pervaiz Khattak on Monday tested positive for the novel coronavirus, as concerns mount about vaccine shortages amidst a third wave of the pandemic that authorities have warned could prove worse than the first two.
Announcing his diagnosis, Alvi prayed for God’s mercy on all victims of the virus. “Had 1st dose of vaccine but antibodies start developing after 2nd dose that was due in a week. Please continue to be careful,” he posted on Twitter. In a subsequent tweet from her personal account, his wife Samina Alvi said she had tested negative but was still quarantining out of caution.
“Alhamdulillah President Arif Alvi has mild symptoms but is in good spirits,” she said, adding that she had also been received the first dose of the vaccine, but had yet to receive the second dose that ensures immunity. “I request everyone to please continue to get vaccinations done and practice SOPs,” she added.
Separately, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail announced Defense Minister Khattak’s COVID test results in a posting on Twitter. “Pervaiz Khatak is diagnosed with COVID positive. Get well soon PK,” he said.
Also on Monday, Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan responded to criticisms levelled by the Sindh government over slow vaccine procurement by claiming provincial governments were free to independently procure any COVID-19 vaccine registered with the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan.
“The federal government has procured and will continue to procure COVID vaccine for all Pakistanis,” he said in a posting on Twitter, adding that there was no requirement of seeking no-objection certificates for this purpose. “Any facilitation needed will be provided,” he added.
No mosque restrictions
In a press conference, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri affirmed that mosques across Pakistan would stay open during Ramzan with strict adherence to COVID-19 standard operating procedures, despite a massive surge in new infections driven by the U.K. variant. However, he urged the public to take precautions while performing their religious obligations to curb the spread of the virus.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that the ongoing third wave of the pandemic could prove far more dangerous than the first two and urged the public to adopt preventative measures to curb its spread. “It would be preferable to go for lockdown, but we don’t have the resources for this,” he added.