ISLAMABAD           -          As the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country surpassed 10,000 with 228 total deaths, the medical community again stressed the government to reverse its decision of allowing congregational prayers and relaxing the lock-down on Thursday.

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) – body representing doctors’ community held a second consecutive press briefing urging government to review its agreement made with Ulema which allows congregational prayers in mosques during the month of Ramazan.

Secretary General PMA Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, talking to The Nation, said that strict lock-down must be implemented across the country as local transmission had highly increased.

He also said that allowing of religious gatherings and opening of businesses would lead to disaster in the country, which already had a weak health infrastructure.

“We already have lesser number of doctors, paramedics, hospitals, beds, isolation wards and ventilators, the system will not sustain the pressure of COVID-19 if strict lockdown is compromised,” he said.

Dr. Qaiser Sajjad said that PMA represents the doctors from entire country and it had expressed its apprehensions in a timely manner and the government would be responsible if any mishap occurs.

“Increase in number of cases will collapse the entire health system,” he said.

He said PMA is a political body of doctors and it was wrongly accused of giving political statements in this worrying situation on COVID-19.

“We spoke from Sindh and Punjab and if necessary will raise our voice from Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhthunkhwa (KP) as well, if necessary, as it is the matter of public health.” The doctor said.

Meanwhile head of Young Doctors Association (YDA) Islamabad Chapter Dr. Fazal-e-Rabbi said that all kinds of gatherings whether religious, ration distribution or even press briefings should be restricted.

“The government given Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) could not be implemented to control the COVID-19 spread and we completely agree with the PMA stance,” he said.

Dr. Fazal-e-Rabbi also said that PMA is absolutely right about the situation in Karachi and entire country does not have sufficient human resource and ventilators to cope with surging situation of COVID-19.

“If the number surged from our capacity, it will be disaster for the country,” he said.

YDA head also added that government must not politicize the matter of providing food to poor as it is responsibility of the government and it should adopt the procedure which must compromise the public health as well.

The PMA also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister (PM) to ban the congregational prayers during the month of Ramzan. In the letter, the doctors body urged that COVID-19 has spread rapidly in the world and developed countries are also struggling in controlling the pandemic.

“In this situation it has become compulsory for the developing country like Pakistan to implement the preventive measures at all possible level,” said the letter.

It also urged to ban all activities in the month of Ramzan including religious gathering, cricket matches in streets, congregational prayers, indoor political activities and religious processions also.

PMA in its letter said that the recent soft policy on the lockdown would make the elder people an easy target for COVID-19 as the immune system in the age of 50-60 deteriorated.

It said that doctors’ community would keep performing its duties but non implementation on preventive measures would push the country into danger. 

Earlier, the PMA president Dr Ashraf Nizami, addressing a press briefing in Lahore, urged the government and chief justice of Pakistan to review its recent decision taken in consultation with ulema to allow congregational prayers in mosques.

He said that the rule of a six feet distance between worshippers; practically it’s not possible and government should review its decision and establish writ of the state.

He said that strict rules have been implemented in the holy places of makah and Madinah and the government here should also take a rational decision to control the pandemic spread.

He added that the decisions made by governments of Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia as Muslim countries should also be adopted by Pakistan.

“We should not do anything that would, lead to an increase in our troubles,” he said.

Dr Nizami urged government for the imposition of a 100pc lockdown policy as the recent relaxations had led to an increase in cases across the country.

 

Doctors advise strict lockdown to contain

virus spread