Second wave of coronavirus more intense, adherence to health guidelines urgently required: Health experts

Taj Nabi Khan

Islamabad: The second wave of novel coronavirus pandemic is around as intense spike in cases is witnessed inside the country as well as worldwide with the onset of winter season.

The ‘first wave’ was subsided with less than expected human and economic losses due the unprecedented measures, well-conceived strategies and collective-response of the nation. Likewise, much has been learnt during the course of ‘first wave’ of virus in terms of formulation and implementation of the strategies to overcome the challenge.

However, due to the rising intensity and mutation of the virus, ‘the second wave’ seems very serious for both the health and economy of the country. Therefore, the public is time and again sensitized to act responsibly by strictly adhering to the health guidelines under the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to contain the spread of virus.
Only implementation of safety measures on national scale can help protect the masses from the catastrophe of ‘second wave’ caused due to the winter season.

The virus is transmitted either through direct contact with the infected person or with the droplets of the infected person’s cough or sneeze, or touching the surface that has cough or sneeze droplets. And later on touching the mouth or face with the infected hands as the COVID-19 virus can survive on surfaces for several hours.

It is a must to ensure wearing of medical masks, proper physical distance, avoidance of handshake and hugging to reduce the risk of coronavirus. Likewise, the government has to strictly impose the strategies of ‘smart lockdowns’ in the country.

The targeted tracking, testing and quarantine mechanism in coordination with national security apparatus is vital to overcome the growing number of Covid-19 cases by sealing the areas of infected cluster populations (hotspots).

In order to contain the outbreak, the government has tightened the restrictions by taking several initiatives.
The wearing of face masks was made mandatory in public. Large scale public events were banned while cinemas, theaters, and shrines have been closed.

Likewise, partial restrictions have also been imposed on staffers working in office, outdoor gatherings including political rallies (500 people maximum), closure of all parks by 6pm and shopping centers, markets, banquet halls and restaurants by 10pm.

The government has announced extended winter vacations to cope with the surge in coronavirus cases in educational institutions. According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the number of infections has risen threefold since October 12 and warned of another lockdown if the SOPs continued to be violated.

The NCOC has also launched an official WhatsApp number 03353336262 (0335333NCOC) to report photos and location of Covid-19 SOPs related violations by the public.

The statistics of Pakistan’s real-time updates data portal (Oct 23 to Nov 21, 2020) for COVID-19 has reported that the country has so far 371,508 confirmed cases out of which 2,843 reported during the last 24 hours.

The portal reported 34,974 active cases with 7,603 deaths out of which 42 deaths reported during the last 24 hours with 328,931 recoveries out of which 1,389 recoveries during the last 24 hours.

The portal has also reported the region-wise details: AJK: 5911 (confirmed cases), 1459 (active cases), 134 (deaths) and 4318 (recoveries), Baluchistan: 16699, 569, 158, 15972, GB: 4506, 147, 93, 4266, Islamabad: 26177, 4421, 270, 21486 KP: 43730, 2589, 1323, 39818, Punjab: 113457, 12703, 2826, 97928 and Sindh: 161028, 13086, 2799, 145143.

Talking to APP, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Senator Prof. Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani said, “According to my personal anecdotal observations, the intensity of ‘the second wave’ of coronavirus was more lethal with a higher death ratio.” She said the government was making all possible efforts to formulate strategies as per the emerging situation to help safeguard the health of people.

Spokesperson of Polyclinic Hospital Dr .Arsalan said that the infection rate of coronavirus has increased manifold during the last few days.

He said that people should be sensitized through mass awareness campaigns to take precautionary measures to halt the spread of virus. He said, “The administration should strictly enforce the corona safety guidelines before it gets too late.” Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani said the government could overcome the challenge with coordinated efforts of the authorities concerned, media, civil society, and public.

She said that Pakistan has taken timely measures and played a responsible role to mitigate the virus in the first wave.
It would combat the infection of viruses in the ‘second wave’ also with the help of the masses, she added.