LAHORE                  -              Speakers at the first virtual conference on Coronavirus have called upon the government and other stakeholders to give hope to the people and should avoid spreading ‘mental pandemic’

The participants of the seminar, on Saturday, said that it was time for the stakeholders to act responsibally as mental disorder owing to the fear of coronavirus would be more dangerous than the virus itself.

They were addressing the first virtual conference on “Roadmap for Combating COVID-19” organized by Punjab University Academic Staff Association.  PU Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar, President Academic Staff Association Prof Dr Mumtaz Anwar Chaudhry, Secretary Javed Sami, Dean Faculty of Islamic Studies Prof Dr Hammad Lakhvi, Dean Faculty of Pharmacy Prof Dr Irfan Nadeem Bukhari, Dean Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood, Dean Faculty of Commerce Prof Dr Mubbsher Munawar Khan, a good number of faculty members, scientists, professionals and researchers from life sciences, , arts, social sciences, pharmacy, Islamic Studies and other faculties joined the virtual conference through “Hangout” from their homes.

Addressing the conference, Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar said that people must not fear coronavirus unduly. However, accurate information should be provided to the people so that they could save themselves and the others from the virus, he said.

He said that universities played their role in such crisis and PU was also playing its role in this critical time. Prof Dr Hammad Lakhvi said that the Muslims had a different worldview of dealing with such crisis. He said that as a Muslim we believe that death would come to us, whether we fell victim to any disease or not. He said that there was no disease on earth which had no treatment but there was need to make efforts to find the cure for saving lives. “The world has witnessed epidemics and diseases far greater than COVID-19.

Prof Dr Mumtaz Anwar proposed establishment of national task force incorporating experts from all the relevant fields so that a comprehensive strategy could be devised and implemented to combat COVID-19.

Institute of Social and Cultural Studies Director Prof Dr Rubina Zakar said that clear guidelines should be available for home and hospital care of Corona patients. She said that we should share these guidelines with the people for home treatment of patients because 70 percent cases of COVID-19 could be treated at home.

However, she explained, the main thing was about isolation of patients which could be possible if people have proper knowledge. She urged the government to develop evidence based policy for coronavirus prevention and control.

Institute of Applied Psychology Director Dr Rafia Rafique said that the government must focus on mental health of the people while dealing with corona virus otherwise mental disease would become more dangerous than COVID-19. She said more than 99 percent population of the country was not the victim of coronavirus and therefore there was need to create the ray of hope among the people.

Dr Saima Siddique from Department of Geography suggested the government to map the areas of Pakistan as per the intensity of the patients on the basis of available data so that people could adopt preventive measures accordingly.

College of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences Principal Dr Sohail Chand said that according to data pattern of COVID-19 in Pakistan, by the blessings of Allah, COVID-19 was not spreading at the pace that it should have spread otherwise.

Dr Azhar Ali said that the government must create awareness among people regarding usage of healthy diet to increase immunity among people and such messages should be part of the awareness campaign. He said that people should use milk, eggs, fruit, dry fruits etc daily to enhance immunity.

Assistant Professor Shahzeb Khan said that social media was full of fake news which should be eliminated immediately. He said that it was a responsibility of people not to share fake news and verify the facts first. He said that scientists should also openly discuss the aspect of bio-terrorism out of COVID-19 like epidemics.