COVID-19 restrictions lifted: can Pakistan see a second wave of the virus?

Pakistan has finally reopened all sectors except marriage halls and educational institutions after five months lockdown due to the spread of deadly COVID-19. After Eid, Punjab reported an increased number of cases. Some medical experts believe that it may be a signal for the beginning of the second wave of the virus.

COVID-19 restrictions lifted

All restaurants, hotels, gyms, theatres, cinemas, beauty parlors, and other businesses have reopened across the country after five months as COVID-19 restrictions lifted across Pakistan. The business community welcomed the decision. However, some medical experts fear that the country may see a second wave of the virus in the coming days.

According to details, all business activities have resumed across the country with strict enforcement of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) issued in the wake of coronavirus. Business hours and weekly holidays have been reverted back to pre-Covid-19 practice.

Read More: Did smart lockdown prove effective to combat COVID-19 in Pakistan?

Punjab and Balochistan government lifted the lockdown on Monday, allowing all sectors except marriage halls and educational institutes to operate under safety measures outlined by the government.

Punjab lifts COVID-19 ban

As COVID-19 restrictions lifted in Punjab on Monday, allowing all sectors except marriage halls and educational institutes to operate under safety measures outlined by the government.

The Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department issued a notification following the decisions made in the August 6 meeting of the National Coordination Committee wherein it was decided to lift the restrictions on all sectors on August 10 and resume educational activities from Sept 15.

“All sectors except Marriage/Marquees and Educational Institutions are hereby allowed to operate from 10th August 2020 subject to adoption of SOPs/ guidelines,” read the notification, a copy of which is available with GVS.

Religious congregations will be allowed after approval of authorities concerned under health guidelines. Business hours and weekly holidays have been reverted back to pre-Covid-19 practice.

As COVID-19 restrictions lifted, all kinds of public transport have also been allowed to operate under SOPs.

On August 6, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar had announced that the government has decided to reopen dine-in restaurants, cafes, cinemas, parks and gyms from August 10 after a nearly five-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read More: Smart lockdowns in Pakistan: making them smarter

It is pertinent to mention here that the active coronavirus cases in the country stands at 17,799, while 6,097 people have died from the disease so far.

Sudden increase in cases in Punjab?

The Punjab province has witnessed a sudden increase in the number of Covid-19 new cases after Eidul Azha. The everyday cases which had dropped to [on average] below 100 during the last one week, again increased to around 300.

Though some medical experts were not perturbed and declared it a routine surge, others believed that it might be a signal for the beginning of the second wave of virus. Punjab reported 277 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 besides five deaths during the last 24 hours against 235 a day earlier.

Experts believe that the cases are likely to remain low in Pakistan but people must follow all the SOPs and ensure physical distancing. Notably, countries are currently battling with COVID-19 second wave.

The Australian state of Victoria reported 19 deaths overnight as it battles a resurgence of the virus in Melbourne. Nearly 200 doctors in India have died after contracting COVID-19, the India Medical Association reported.

As the US recorded more than five million coronavirus infections, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration Dr Scott Gottlieb has issued a warning about the rising death toll.

Read More: After successfully containing COVID-19, Pakistan goes for smart lockdown

“We’re definitely going to be somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000. Whether we’re closer to 200,000 or closer to 300,000 depends on what we do and how this evolves,” Gottlieb said in an interview with CBS Face The Nation.

Moreover, at least 19.67 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while the global death toll crossed 727,000. More than 11.88 million have recovered.

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