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'If we are careless on Eid ul Adha, Pakistan could see another spike in COVID-19 infections,' warns PM

Published 09 Jul,2020 via Dawn - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday appealed to the nation to mark the upcoming Eidul Azha with simplicity and to take precautions so that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country do not rise again.

He was talking to the media after inaugurating the Isolation Hospital & Infectious Treatment Centre (IHITC) in Islamabad.

"The virus spreads rapidly when a large number of people gather," said the premier, saying the "carelessness" on Eidul Fitr in May led to a spike in cases in Pakistan. "This led to pressure on our hospitals, our frontline workers also faced immense pressure, we unfortunately lost lives and the virus peaked."

"After Eid, we took steps to contain the virus, including smart lockdowns [...] today, infections are decreasing. By the grace of the Almighty, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), provinces' cooperation in implementing the instructions — due to the joint efforts of everyone, Pakistan is now among those countries where infections are declining.

"Today, I want to make a special appeal to you all: if we are careless on Eidul Azha, the virus could spread again and there could be a fresh spike in the number of infections. Again, the hospitals will come under pressure. So I'm appealing to you all to mark this Eid with simplicity."

He said the government has come up with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for this Eid and how to carry out animal sacrifices. "I appeal to the entire nation to observe this Eid with simplicity — for the sake of your country, its economy and especially the elderly and at-risk members of the society.

"If we take care now, then we can manage, God willing, to come out of this pandemic better than other countries."

Earlier, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt-Gen Mohammad Afzal briefed the prime minister on the isolation centre.

The 250-bed, state-of-the-art medical facility, according to Radio Pakistan, has been constructed in a record forty days at a cost of about Rs980 million.

Planning Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing and other senior officials were also present at the inuaguration.

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Eid Al Adha