Peshawar shopkeepers Pakistan
Shopkeepers stand outside their shops that were closed by authorities to help to control the spread of the coronavirus, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2020. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Amid fears of an even more severe coronavirus outbreak in July, authorities in big cities of Pakistan, including Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, are confronting new challenges — primarily in terms of implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the cattle markets.

Every year, just ahead of Eid Al Adha, large stretches of land on the peripheries of cities are allocated for cattle markets and hundreds and thousands of people visit these markets, along with their families and friends, to select sacrificial animals.

The provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are considering setting up smaller sacrificial animal markets or sales points, instead of having just one or two big markets, so that the risk of a further spread of coronavirus can be minimised.

Visiting cattle markets can be disastrous

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho has warned that cattle markets could heighten the risk of a rapid spread of the virus. With the provinces likely to see a rise in the number of cases in the coming days, organising cattle markets and allowing people to visit them would be disastrous, she said.

Similarly, the district government of Lahore has also chalked out a plan to hold cattle markets in various areas of the city and directed that these markets would be allowed to conduct business only under strict adherence to SOPs.

In Islamabad, the Interior Ministry has turned down a proposal for a hard lockdown for two weeks, as recommended by the district administration. However, the district administration has been directed to allow people the purchase/sale of sacrificial animals under strict preventive measures.

Former National Assembly speaker defeats coronavirus

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, a former speaker of the National Assembly and a stalwart of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has tested negative for coronavirus.

In a twitter post, Sadiq, announced he had tested negative and expressed gratitude to all those who had prayed for his early recovery.

Earlier, Shahbaz Sharif, the PML-N president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, had tested positive for the virus. He is presently in quarantine. 95,000 recoveries, 206,512 cases

Pakistan on Monday reported 206,512 cases of COVID-19 and 4,167 deaths. Besides a slow increase in the number of new cases, those already infected are recovering fast and the number of recoveries stood at 95,407.

These positive cases include 74,202 in Punjab, 78,267 in Sindh, 25,380 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 10,261 in Balochistan, 12,395 in Islamabad, 1,423 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and 1,027 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

During the last 24 hours, 3,557 new coronavirus cases have surfaced in the country, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) figures. Some 49 deaths were also reported during the period.

According to the latest government projections, coronavirus cases in the country may be limited to 225,000 by the end of June if people continue to follow strict precautions. The number was earlier expected to cross 300,000.