The decision to carry out widescale testing of police personnel after a surge in positive cases among them in the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad should be replicated across Pakistan. Though exact figures are hard to come by, several police personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 in different areas of Pakistan. This is not surprising because their duties necessitate contact with other people. Those deployed at quarantine centres, hospitals and on the frontlines have been particularly vulnerable to transmission. During these times, it is important that police and other government staff strictly follow SOPs to not only protect themselves and their families, but also the public they serve.

The same is the case for staff at hospitals. The number of positive cases in doctors and other medical staff is also a matter of concern. There are still complaints coming in regarding the lack of provision of PPEs, which must be made available across hospitals. These frontline workers are undertaking huge risks in the performance of their duties. The least that can be done is provision of necessary equipment that will enable them to perform their critical roles with some level of safety. Pakistan’s COVID-19 tally has now crossed 62,000 cases with over 1,200 deaths recorded.

In the days leading up to Eid, several instances of violation of SOPs were observed across bazaars in the country. People thronged to the markets, flouting government instructions regarding social distancing, and the resulting surge in cases will only become visible in the next seven days or so. Police personnel on duty during these days were left highly exposed. Therefore, the need for massive testing cannot be ignored. This challenge cannot be overcome without a collective effort. It is hoped that in the coming days, we will see more responsible behaviour from all quarters.