ISLAMABAD: Adherence to the health guidelines issued by the government is the only way Pakistan can effectively curb the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, health experts have advised.
Health professionals and officials, working tirelessly in emergency wards and on the administrative front, have called upon the public to wholeheartedly observe government’s instructions for stemming the contagion's spread across the country.
Doctors have warned that the public's disregard of the coronavirus safety protocols such as mask wearing, social distancing and others would ultimately hamper the national initiative in the fight against COVID-19.
"The attitude of people towards the SOPs seems casual and they are not exercising caution," said Dr Mehwish, on duty at the Emergency Ward of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).
Even patients, visiting the emergency wards of hospitals, did not care for social distancing, masks and other safety measures, she added.
“Patients with normal fever may take Paracetamol to avoid unnecessary visits to the hospital, a risky activity in the current scenario,” Dr Mehwish said while talking to APP.
Requesting anonymity, a police official at the Srinagar Highway check post, told APP that there was a section of society that was reluctant to comply with the prescribed safety measures.
He said that motorists are being educated about the importance of following the guidelines against the virus.
“Without the people’s cooperation, the fight against COVID-19 cannot be won. The role of every citizen is imperative in defeating this virus,” said the cop.
Another doctor at the PIMS, Sohail, said: "Our cultural norms do not care about social distancing which is the basic precaution against the coronavirus." He said people’s reluctance to the preventive measures might boost the pace of the virus' spread.
“When it comes to social contacts of a patient tested with COVID-19, the list is mind boggling as it includes neighbours, vendors, the milkman, cab drivers, tailors, friends and relatives,” he said.
“We are working like soldiers and our enemy is a virus, [which is] invisible,” Mehak, a paramedical staffer at the Poly Clinic Hospital, said.
A collective resolve is required to prevent the increase in infections during the second wave, which is already here, she added.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has stepped up its efforts to ensure compliance of the SOPs and imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedures Code (CrPC) recently to fine citizens for not wearing a mask in the capital city.
Other restrictions such as social distancing are already in place.
According to the ICT spokesman, police had arrested 125 individuals and sealed 77 shops over non-compliance of SOPs across the city during the last week.
The authorities imposed fines of Rs191,500 on shops over violation of SOPs by conducting 1,1,62 inspections, he added.