PM asks opposition to postpone gatherings

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday appealed to the opposition parties to postpone their public gatherings for the sake of people’s lives as COVID-19 patients had already occupied 40 percent of the country’s hospital capacity.

“In Multan, 64 percent of hospital beds are full, 40 percent in Peshawar, 50 percent in Islamabad. At an average, 40 percent of the country’s hospitals are under occupancy,” the prime minister said here in a media briefing after chairing the meeting of National Coordination Committee on COVID-19.

He made it clear that the opposition’s public gatherings would make no difference for the government rather it was tantamount to playing with the people’s lives.

He viewed that the public gatherings would do nothing but to enhance the chances of spreading virus when the pressure at healthcare system including doctors and nurses was already on rise.

He said the opposition parties could hold gatherings after two or three months for the sake of people’s lives for what the government had already closed down educational institutions, indoor wedding ceremonies and dining at restaurants.

The prime minister said amid the opposition’s public gatherings, it was difficult for the government to justify the enforcement of standard operating procedures (SOPs) like social distancing on other sectors like businesses and mosques.

The enforcement of SOPs during the second wave, he added, was already a challenge across the world as the people were resisting their governments’ decisions.

He said during the first wave, Pakistan had successfully navigated because the people had taken the precautions as a nation and observed discipline.

England and California were again under lockdown, and Pakistan could avert any worst scenario just by adhering to the precautions, he stressed.

The prime minister said the indoor gatherings during winter increased the chances of virus spread and any violation of the SOPs would put hospitals under immense pressure to make the country face difficult time.

He said Pakistanis, as nation would have to take precautions with use of face mask above all.

India, he added, had faced around 150,000 deaths and around 400 people were dying daily in Iran. “(Therefore) We will have to assist ourselves if we need Allah’s assistance,” he remarked.