Paramedic pakistan nasal swab
A paramedic wearing protective gear takes a nasal swab of a woman at a glass booth, to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Karachi, Pakistan July 15. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Services Hospital of Lahore on Saturday declared the hospital was free of coronavirus cases as the last patient admitted at the hospital had recovered and returned home.

Provincial Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid announced at a press conference that all 60 patients admitted at the hospital had fully recovered since the province reported a major decline in cases of coronavirus, 218 in the last 24 hours.

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The number was 988 on July 8. Besides, Punjab, a province of more than 100 million people, reported only two deaths in the same period.

Dr Rashid, however, cautioned the public against violation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) warning that it could result in the return of the virus. She also pleaded with the public to avoid throwing waste and animal remains as it could cause major health hazards and affect the provincial government’s resolve.

19 deaths, 841 new cases in 24-hour period

Pakistan on Saturday recorded lowest number of deaths, 19, and 841 coronavirus infections in a period of 24 hours. With these new figures, the country’s total deaths stand at 5,970 and the confirmed cases of coronavirus at 279,146.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), in the last 24 hours some 22,930 tests were conducted making the total number of tests 1.99 million since the outbreak.

SOPs violated during Eid

Pakistanis on the first day of Eid Al Adha observed the religious festival with devotion. But, in many places, it was observed they paid little attention to the health guidelines and SOPs as proposed by the government.

In cities, the sacrificial animals were brought on the road and slaughtered in the open by the men who were neither wearing masks nor observing social distancing, a requirement.

Similarly, children were allowed to witness the sacrifice (slaughtering) of the animal that was clearly forbidden in the SOPs made public by the government.

Pakistani leaders urge public to follow health guidelines

Pakistani leaders, meanwhile, chose the occasion of Eid to remind the public to strictly follow the SOPs and take care of people around them, the poor and the needy.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his message to the nation said the day was a reminder to reiterate the resolve for facing all problems with determination and without evading greater sacrifices in its way.

The country he said was passing through a critical phase due to the coronavirus pandemic, which he said had emerged as a great challenge to humanity. He appealed to the nation to observe all SOPs while sacrificing animals and to take special care of the needy and poor on the occasion.

President Alvi while wishing the nation prayed for the wellbeing of the people and the country. “I pray that you remain happy and far from worries, illnesses and difficulties ... May Allah make my country a centre of progress, prosperity and peace,” the president tweeted.