Pakistani PM Imran Khan ruled out a business closure amid a spike in COVID-19 cases – The New Indian Express | Instant News


By PTI

ISLAMABAD – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday ruled out a business closure and urged the public to follow health guidelines as the country grapples with a second wave of the coronavirus with a national infection tally of 382,892.

Khan told media in Lahore that he is concerned about the situation after the daily death toll for COVID-19 surpassed 50, while just under single digits two weeks ago.

He said that even though cases were increasing, his government would not close factories and businesses.

“We cannot make daily wage workers unemployed,” he said, adding that society had to follow the guidelines.

“I strongly urge all owners of factories, shops and shopping centers to strictly enforce safety protocols. And the easiest thing to do is just wear a mask, “he said.

He said that Pakistan managed to beat the virus during the first wave and asked people to show the same willingness to follow security measures.

In answering questions, he said that the opposition should stop holding public demonstrations because his government would not allow such activities as it would spread the infection.

“We must not allow such activities to cause people to gather. We know that when people come into close contact, the virus spreads very quickly,” he said.

Khan’s remarks came as Pakistan detected more than 3,009 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 382,892, while 59 people died in one day, bringing the number of COVID-19 deaths to 7,803, according to data released by the Ministry of National Health Services. .

Planning Minister Asad Umar who heads the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), the official body dedicated to fighting the virus, issued a warning late Tuesday that the situation will worsen in the next two weeks.

“We experienced a peak of COVID-19 cases in June and if we don’t follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), we may face the worst situation in the next two weeks,” he said.

He said that recently 1,750 people were using oxygen or ventilators, while in June 3,400 were using ventilators.

The ministry reported that at least 332,974 people recovered from the disease but around 1,867 were in critical condition. The number of active patients was 42,115.

Authorities carried out at least 41,583 tests on the last day, showing a positive rate of 7.2 percent.

National Assembly Chair Asad Qaisar holds a Parliament Committee meeting on COVID-19 on Wednesday at the Parliament Building.

He invited all parliamentary parties but an 11-party alliance, the Democratic Alliance of Pakistan (PDM), refused to attend.

“It is illegal for a speaker to hold the meeting because he is not authorized to hold it,” said PDM Secretary General and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Health Services said Pakistan completed a second round of COVID-19 studies which showed around 7 percent or 15 million people were exposed to the virus.

“In the second round, around 7 percent of people were detected to have contracted COVID-19 around the time the survey was conducted before cases of COVID-19 reappeared recently,” according to the survey.

Pakistan is one of the few countries that has conducted and completed Seroprevalence studies in cities and towns, which have also shown that many people remain asymptomatic, recommending the use of masks.

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