While the government of Pakistan may have implemented a “smart lockdown” in Covid-19 hotspots across the country, the fear of a second wave remains following a drastic spike in cases in the past few weeks. Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has now warned the nation about the same. Taking to Twitter, he claimed that the country’s coronavirus positivity rate has risen to its highest since August, urging citizens to carefully adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that have been put in place for their well-being and safety. “National positivity of Covid cases was 2.37 per cent. This is the highest positivity rate in more than 50 days. The last time this level was seen was on August 23,” Umar wrote.
Covid positivity is extremely high in muzaffarabad, remains high in karachi, rising in lahore & Islamabad. Time for all of us to take covid sop's seriously again. Otherwise, unfortunately we may have to take restrictive actions which have negative effects on peoples livelihoods
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) October 15, 2020
He also emphasized on the drastic increase in virus-related deaths of late. “The average number of Covid deaths during the first four days of this week was 11 per day, the highest since the week of August 10. Unmistakable signs of the rise of corona. Covid positivity is extremely high in Muzaffarabad, remains high in Karachi, and is rising in Lahore and Islamabad,” alerted Umar, adding that it is time for everyone to take Covid SOPs seriously again. “Otherwise, we may have to take restrictive actions which have negative effects on people’s livelihoods.”
Health officials have also informed about the rise in cases in Punjab, especially Lahore, while Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah highlighted an increase in Karachi’s positivity rate. Last week, restrictions were once again enforced on big-scale public gatherings and revised guidelines were issued for marriage halls. Authorities revealed that while such events should not happen in the first place, if necessary, they must be organised with strict compliance with the SOPs. Prime Minister Imran Khan had also urged the public to wear masks and take precautionary measures as there was “fear that onset of winter could result in a second wave” of the coronavirus.