PM Imran urges nation to abide by COVID SOPs as dangers of fourth wave loom

Pakistan has witnessed a sudden rise in daily cases in recent days.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned of a looming fourth wave of Covid-19 in the country, urging the nation to abide by standard operating procedures (SOPs) on the occasion of Eid ul Adha to keep the virus at bay.  

In a video message addressed to the nation today (Thursday), the Prime Minister warned the nation about the dangers of the Delta variant — which first emerged in India — and said that India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Indonesia are currently suffering because of it.

“Given the current situation in countries like Afghanistan, “We fear the Indian variant could strike Pakistan and as a precautionary measure, we need to adhere to the SOPs,” PM Imran added.

He said that so far, Allah has been very merciful towards Pakistan and even foreign publications like The Economist has listed Pakistan as one of the top three nations that were able to control the pandemic in an efficient way.

While thanking people for abiding by the SOPs on his previous appeals, he urged the masses to continue their cooperation with the administration and compulsorily wear masks at all places.

The premier said he knew people had become tired of following the SOPs, but said, “We will further put your test stamina to test for your own safety.” He said it was not a herculean task to wear a mask.

The premier also lauded the government, particularly the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for carrying out research and taking timely decisions to contain the virus from spreading.

He said that Pakistan was the only Muslim country that kept mosques open for two consecutive Ramazans — thanks to the efforts, monitoring, and preemptive measures of the NCOC as well as the cooperative attitude of the nation.

He explained that masks should be worn at all times whenever someone is in a confined space with other people — including wedding functions, restaurants, and rooms — because the chances of the virus spreading within indoor environments are extremely high.

Talking about the downsides of a lockdown, he said, “When you impose a lockdown, the most affected segment is the poor, and for the sake of our people, our economy, and our elders, I urge everyone to wear masks.”

He also said the government had to ensure that sacrificial animals on Eidul Azha should be slaughtered at sites outside cities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Towards the end of his speech, the Prime Minister also urged people to get vaccinated. He added that even though Pakistan does not manufacture the anti-coronavirus vaccine on its own and the vaccination drive is not as quick as it is in the US, for instance, people should take advantage of the available vaccines in the country and get themselves inoculated as soon as possible.