Sindh govt to press for strict lockdown after WHO warning
As the World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed its concerns over the alarming rate of coronavirus spread and presented recommendations, the Sindh government decided to urge the Centre to go a strict and complete lockdown, media reports suggested while quoting sources.
The agreement on the suggestion came as the provincial government leaders and medical experts held discussions over the situation developing since the easing the lockdown.
The WHO had recently written letters to provincial government separately and noted that Pakistan did not meet any of the six conditions required to start lifting the restrictions imposed in connection with the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The Punjab government and the ruling party’s members at the Centre had said that the letter was just a recommendation and they won’t go for a strict lockdown. However, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the WHO letter to Sindh government raised valid concerns and suggestions.
WHO letter to Sindh government raises valid concerns & suggestions. Will be discussed by Sindh govt before being taken up at national level. We’ve long called for national policy to be linked to facts & our own capacity. Unfortunately so far this hasn’t been national approach.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) June 9, 2020
It would be discussed by the Sindh government before being taken up at national level, he said and added that they had been calling for a national policy to be linked to facts and capacity but there was no national approach.
In the letter written to the Punjab government, the WHO expressed serious concerns over the alarming rise in the number of cases and deaths and said Punjab should conduct at least 50,000 tests on a daily basis.
It also said that there was a need to impose a two-week strict lockdown in a bid to curb the virus spread. “Pakistan has been ranked among the top 10 countries around the globe in reporting the highest number of new cases,” read the letter.
About the alarming rate at which the results of tests are coming as positive and weak surveillance system, the WHO said, “The positive rate [of tests] is high at 24% (above the required level of 5%), the surveillance system (identify, test, isolate, care for the ill including identification and follow up of contact and quarantining) is weak.”
“There is limited capacity to provide critical care (only 751 ventilators are allocated for COVID-19,” the top international health body mentioned in its letter.
Meanwhile, the six conditions noted by the WHO, mentioned this letter, for any government before relaxing the lockdown are:
1. Disease transmission is under control
2. Health system can detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact
3. Hot spot risks are minimised in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes
4. Schools, work places and other essential places have established preventative measures
5. The risk of importing new cases can be managed
6. Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal