LAHORE                  -              Following federal government’s decision to ease the lockdown, various health organisations have demanded the government ensure implementation of SOPs to minimize the risks of spread of Covid-19.

While addressing a press conference here at the Lahore Press Club on Sunday, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) President Professor Muhammad Afzal Mian, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Lahore chapter President Dr Ashraf Nizami, Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) President Dr Tariq Mian, Pakistan Society of Gastroenterology (PSG) Vice President Professor M Haroon Yousuf, Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab President Dr. Salman Haseeb said that as far as the medical facilities of the government were concerned, it was known to all that in case of any further increase in the number of corona patients, the health system could collapse.

“Now, when the government has relaxed the lockdown we need to be extremely careful and vigilant. We must prepare ourselves for the worst. We have been demanding compensation to all Covid-19 victims, including doctors and paramedics. We have been demanding PPEs for our frontline soldiers. We demand Shuhada Package/support money for the families of those medics who have lost their lives while saving the lives of patients,” they said.

They also advised people to take this ailment just like any other disease, and not as a taboo or social stigma. They also counseled the government to listen to WHO, which, time and again, had called for imposing the lockdown as only effective preventive measure against the virus.

They made it clear that the lockdown had been relaxed in other countries when the numbers of cases were on decline; in Pakistan the cases are already increasing and any relaxation will rapidly increase them further.

It is still advisable to continue with the lockdown till the cases, at least, slow down in a few weeks.

If the government does decide to relax the lockdown with SOPs, they added, it should take the responsibility to implement them too. “Leaving it to the citizens is hardly expected to be successful as there is no such discipline in our population,” they cautioned.

They added likewise, with the expected surge in the number of patients, the government had not given any plan to treat them since the existing infrastructure was already overwhelmed.

They suggested that there should be a central helpline from the government in all major cities to guide patients whom to contact if they are sick. “Only announcing the designated hospitals does not help,” they opined.

The helpline numbers should be on the finger tips of ambulance drivers so that they have an idea where to drop the patients, they demanded.

“There is no mention of the strategy to protect the healthcare workers,” they said, and added, “Screening of healthcare workers should be made mandatory to prevent their co-workers, families and others from contracting the virus.