Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday appealed to the nation to mark the upcoming Eidul Azha with simplicity and take precautionary measures so that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country does not rise again.
He was speaking to the media after inaugurating the Isolation Hospital and Infectious Treatment Centre (IHITC) in Islamabad.
“The virus spreads rapidly when a large number of people gather,” said the premier, saying “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 imposing smart lockdowns […] today, infections are decreasing. By the grace of the Almighty, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the cooperation of the provinces in implementing 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. Hospitals will come under pressure again. 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 Eidul Azha and how to carry out animal sacrifices. “I appeal to the entire nation to observe 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.
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 inauguration.