In the last 24 hours, only 8 deaths were caused due to coronavirus taking the total number of fatalities to 6,082. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan on Sunday reported 91.6 per cent recovery rate of its coronavirus patients as 644 patients were discharged from various hospitals after testing negative during the last 24 hours.

The country’s total number of recovered cases reached 260,248, which is a little less than the tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 - 284,121. The ratio of new cases remained substantially low as after 23,390 tests conducted in a day, only 634 came positive.

In the last 24 hours, only 8 deaths were caused due to coronavirus taking the total number of fatalities to 6,082.

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Encouraged by these figures and the substantial progress against coronavirus, the Pakistan government is opening businesses, markets, cafes, cinemas, etc from Monday, August 10 and a sense of jubilation prevails in the country over return to normal course of life.

Medics concerned at ‘hasty decision’

Doctors and health experts, however, are not convinced with the government’s decision of resuming business as usual in the country and the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) in a statement has expressed its surprise over the government’s decision to reopen all sectors at the same time.

“The government had announced opening of almost all sectors in the country from August 8, which the PMA believes is a ‘decision taken in haste’,” says the statement.

According to the government announcement, schools and marriage halls would also reopen in September, and this has further alarmed the medical community and it fears coronavirus might return posing more serious threat as it has not been eliminated completely from Pakistan.

“We are still under quarantine period for monitoring coronavirus cases after Eid and after five to six days we will be able to know how many new cases have emerged after Eid. We believe that the government has taken this decision in haste because our upcoming festivals and important events, like Independence Day, Muharram and Rabi Al Awwal are very close. This decision should have been made after these dates,” the PMA said in the statement.

Guidelines for August 14 Muharram processions

After reports of an increase in COVID-19 cases in Punjab after Eid, the federal government has prepared standard operating procedures (SOPs) specifically for the upcoming Independence Day (August 14) and the Islamic month of Muharram.

A meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) discussed, in detail, the roadmap and measures being adopted to open various sectors and the preparedness ahead of Independence Day celebrations and Muharram.

The meeting presided over by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar was informed that SOPs for Muharram had been prepared. They are:

• Only registered processions would be allowed to be taken out and their organisers asked to avoid narrow streets.

• Speakers/preachers would have to wear masks and maintain a distance of at least six feet from the first row of the majlis participants.

• Use of sanitisers at the entry points and wearing of masks is mandatory for those attending Independence Day events.

While speaking on the occasion Umar warned the coronavirus threat was still there and “if health guidelines are not followed, there is always a threat of the disease spreading again.”