ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that all businesses, including marriage halls, restaurants, educational institutions, and those associated with the tourism sector, might reopen if the present trend of low Covid-19 cases persisted throughout Muharram.
Addressing the nation on Monday, he urged citizens to continue taking precautionary measures during Eid ul Azha and Muharram to prevent a spike in novel corona virus cases as was seen soon after Eid ul Fitr. “Be careful. If we pass Eid and Muharram with caution, there are chances that all closed businesses might reopen,” the prime minister said.
The country cannot afford another surge in cases as it will hit the country’s economy hard and also affect those in the vulnerable age group, Prime Minister Khan said, urging people to observe their animal sacrifice ritual online and follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) if they had to visit the animal market. “I urge people to go for online Qurbani and avoid visiting animal markets,” he said, adding that in case people do visit these markets, they must adopt all SOPs and wear masks. He also said, “Opt for online sacrifice of animals to avoid gatherings in a bid to control mass spread of the virus”.
The prime minister gave the example of Australia and Spain where the virus cases had jumped again after initially falling. “I appeal to everyone not to be complacent about Covid-19; adopt safety measures and do not risk the lives of the elderly and patients,” he added.
The prime minister said since Pakistan was faced with challenges like poverty, slum population, and informal and unregistered labour, smart lockdown was the best option to maintain a balance that allowed the poor and daily-wage labourers to earn their livelihood under the cover of safety SOPs.