Punjab government warns of COVID-19 resurgence

Author: Dr. Ramsha Zafar (MBBS) | Reviewer:  Muhammad Rehan Mian (MSPH) | 27 August, 2020

On August 14, 2020, Dawn reports that the Punjab government has warned the Divisional Commissioners and Regional Police Officers (RPOs) about a possible COVID-19 resurgence across the province because of the rampant violations of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in markets, shopping malls, and plazas after the lockdown was lifted.

Following news of these SOP violations, a letter was written by the Primary &Secondary Health Department Secretary retired Capt. Mohammad Usman addressed all RPOs and the Divisional Commissioners of the province hinting at the possibility of a second wave if the necessary face covering and distancing precautions were not properly enforced and complied with.

Pakistan has recently seen an unexpected fall in its COVID-19 cases. Positivity has dropped to 2% against 31% in June. The number of critical patients has declined, and the recovery rate has improved to 92%. The number of tests dropped not because of capacity issues, but due to fewer requirements. All these signs show that the situation is under control. But non-seriousness of people with regards to follow SOPs raises chances of second wave.

As cases skyrocketed within days following Eid-ul-Fitr, concerns were raised that the same could happen after Eid-ul-Azha and Muharram. Moreover, hospital OPDs have reopened, and caution has been voiced with regards to COVID spread in those settings as well. Johns Hopkins COVID-19 data resource center also confirms resurgence of cases in countries like Belgium, France, Australia, China, New Zealand, Vietnam, and others. Some of the aforementioned countries reached to ‘zero’ number of daily cases and remained consistent for more than 2-3 months before resurgence.

The government continues to stress the importance of following guidelines and complying with the SOPs but the effective implementation of such measures remains to be unseen.

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