Bari Eid is approaching faster than ever this year and, although this last week of June has had fewer fatalities than the rest of the month, the coronavirus pandemic is here to stay.
Last Eid, there was a severe lack of strict lockdown rules enforced throughout the nation. Crowded shopping areas and gatherings of the masses brought with them record-breaking highs of daily new cases and the deaths of thousands in the weeks after the festival.
What did our Commander in Chief have to say on the matter?
However, this goes in stark contrast to what Ahmed Zeb Khan, a doctor at a government-owned hospital in the north-western town of Charsadda, had to say. “We have told the government over and over again to increase the capacity of the ICU and isolation wards, because you did not impose a [proper] lockdown and now we have no breathing space,” he said.
“Until that happens, the system is overburdened, and we are going towards a collapse.”
Many lives have been lost since then, and hospitals are overburdened. On Eid, given the mass carelessness with regards to SOPs, healthcare workers have been deprived of even “breathing spaces” as a result.
Doctors say, “Our hospital’s condition is already overburdened and the health system is very weak,” said Muhammad Kashif, a doctor at Lady Reading Hospital.
“Right now, you won’t find a single ICU bed in all of Peshawar. Our health system, if, God forbid, things remain as they are, it will definitely collapse.”
The lift of the lockdown during Eid-ul-Fitr was a mess for cases back in the end of May, and nothing ensures such lethal mistakes won’t be repeated.
Although Islamabad based pulmonologist, Dr. Muhammad Akram, believes the imposing of “smart lockdowns” have helped control the spread of corona virus to other areas, the WHO (World Health Organization) has already analyzed Pakistan’s quarantining, tracking and testing patterns as “weak”.
Earlier in June, Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms, and Special Initiatives, himself announced that the current projected rate of daily COVID-19 cases, could leave us with 1.2 million infected by the end of July.
How does this affect governmental provisions in the nation?
This leaves Pakistan’s healthcare systems not only vulnerable but possibly at the brink of disintegration.
As the festival of Eid-ul-Azha approaches, it will bring with itself crowded Baqra Mandis, Eid attire shopping, family gatherings and not to mention, the locality’s qasai. Coronavirus restrictions will be near impossible to enforce unless there is a total lockdown.
However, the PM still maintains his stance on smart lockdowns despite the WHO itself urging Pakistan to impose strict two-week lockdowns intermittently.
With the WHO warning a total tally of 800,000 cases by July, and the festival of Eid-ul-Azha approaching the fifth most populated country in the world, our healthcare system’s worst nightmare may only be a few weeks short of coming true.
The second wave of coronavirus is predicted to be worse than ever. With no health-care regulations and SOPs followed by the public, the outcome may be extremely dangerous.
Will the celebrations of this festive holiday result in more deaths due to the ignorance towards the ongoing pandemic, or will the Pakistani public follow the given guidelines to prevent the spread of this virus?