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Second wave of SARS-CoV-2 and public gatherings; Violations of SOPs can be destructive for the precious lives in Pakistan

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Second wave of SARS-CoV-2 and public gatherings; Violations of SOPs can be
destructive for the precious lives in Pakistan
Irshad Hussain1 Che Suraya Zin2
1-Institute of Pharmacy, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University,
Larkana, Pakistan.
2- Kulliyyah of Pharmacy, International Islamic University Malaysia.
Covid-19 originating from Wuhan China in December 2019 has been spread worldwide with 1.7
million fatalities across the globe. First wave of SARS-CoV-2 in Pakistan remained less harmful
due to the strict measures adopted by the provinces and the federation. There was lockdown of
many weeks. Educational institutions were completely closed. Inter city and interprovincial
Public Transport was banned. Task force was established to cope with the situation. There were
massive awareness campaigns on print and electronic media about adopting SOPs to reduce the
risks. The weather and the high temperature was another factor to minimize the viral spread
during the first wave. In Pakistan, there have been 467,222 confirmed, 418, 951 recovered, 9753
reported deaths and 38,511 active cases so for.1 With the arrival of winter season from
November 2020, there were predictions of the more deadly 2nd wave of the SARS-CoV-2.
Considering poor economic situation of Pakistan that cannot afford complete lockdown,
government has adopted comparatively lenient policy to fight the disease in the second wave.
Relaxation in the prophylactic measures have been warned to have potential adverse
consequences in the spread of Covid-19.2 Although there is complete closure of Educational
Institutions up to 10th of the January 20213 but as per observation of the author the inter cities
and inter provincial public transport is going on, worships permissions are as usual in the
mosques including the gathering of Friday prayer. People are free to perform after death rituals
(even if someone dies of Covid-19) including 3rd day tradition of Qull Khawni ( public gathering
of relatives and neighbours of the deceased recitation of Quran, speech of scholar and
distribution of alms) and prayer (dua) for the deceased. The pandemic situation has been very
alarming across the globe. Worldwide Political leaders and the religious scholars have instructed
the masses to avoid gatherings, to adopt social distancing and to wear the masks in the best
public interests. However the situation in Pakistan is different. Some religious parties and the
main opposition parties have been united in a single forum and have started an anti-government
movement. They have started massive political gatherings in the major cities of Pakistan to show
their unsatisfaction versus the government highlighting the existing issues of poverty,
unemployment, high prices etc.4 Federal Government of Pakistan has advised to anti government
parties to be cooperative in adopting prophylactic measures against the spread of deadly virus
during the more harmful second wave. National and international health advisors are repeatedly
stressing the masses to avoid gatherings. WHO has declared by issuing warning on the
Charistmas to advising public on ̋don’t squander sacrifices of 2020 and may continue adopting
safety measures in 2021 until vacination.5 Considering all the circumstances and measures if
adopted can be helpful in reducing the health hazards of the pandemic during the second wave in
Pakistan. The measures are as follows:
1- Teleconferencing and use of electronic media by the political leaders to avoid calling the
peoples physically in the massive gatherings (Jalsas).
2- Social distancing and wearing of masks in the mosques in the 5 times prayers in general
and Friday prayers in particular.
3- Effective legislation by the authorities against the violation of SOPs.
4- Adoptability of common goals against the pandemic Covid-19 by all political leadership
of the country through the effective and productive dialogue.
Armed forces of the country and the Pakistan rangers may be called to ensure the compliance of
SOPs like their track record role in the War against terror, during the earthquake of 2004 and the
disastrous flooding of 2010. Majority Pakistanis are poor with lack of basic facilities of health
and education. Many people still believe on conspiracy theories about the existing of corona.
Therefore their minds can be easily molded for the political interests. Upper political class can
afford VIP health facilities once with virus while medium class people have to face great
difficulty in accessing the basic health needs in case of Covid-19 symptoms. Therefore, it is
important to have uniform agenda against the pandemic Covid-19 by all the political powers and
religious scholars of the country whether those are in the Government or not as there is no
alternative to precious lives.
Conflict of Interests: Author declares no conflict of interests for this article.
Disclosure: Article has been displayed as pre-print on the research gate and has been submitted
to a journal and will be updated on the research gate once published finally.
1- (Date accessed December 25, 2020).
2-Shunqing Xu, Yuanyuan Li. Beware of the second wave of COVID-19. The Lancet:
3- (Date Accessed December 27, 2020).
covid/30988628.html (Date Accessed December 27, 2020).
chief/ar-BB1cdZMv?ocid=iehp&li=BBKxOg5. (Date accessed December 27, 2020)
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