A woman receives the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi on March 10. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: As the number of Covid-19 cases has decreased by 20 per cent in the country due to steps taken by the provinces, particularly the Sindh government, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has advised people to avoid Majalis at homes and follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) during mourning processions.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has voiced concern over the rapidly increasing number of doctors falling prey to Covid-19.

The number of Covid-19 cases, which surpassed 5,000 last week, has decreased by around 20pc.

The NCOC data showed that 86 deaths and 3,884 cases were reported in a single day and the number of active cases was 84,427 as of August 10. The national positivity was 7.84pc.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), requesting not to be named, said the Sindh government had played a major role in decreasing the number of cases.

People advised to avoid Majalis at home; PMA notes rising incidents of doctors’ deaths caused by infection

“Unfortunately, cases were doubling in a fortnight and Karachi was the most hit city. However, the imposition of lockdown by the Sindh government stopped the trend of increase in cases and positivity rate has finally started decreasing in the province. Later, the NCOC also decided to impose restrictions due to which the number of cases started falling across the country,” he added.

However, he feared that the number of cases might again start increasing again because of mourning processions and Majalis during Muharram. “So we suggest to the masses to strictly adhere to the SOPs,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the NCOC issued recommendations for Muharram, saying that all processions and Majalis should be held in accordance with the SOPs. There should be arrangements of thermal scanning, every participant should wear a mask and ensure social distancing. Hand sanitisers should be provided.

It is suggested to avoid Majalis at homes and hold them at halls having proper arrangement of ventilation.

The PMA, a representative body of doctors, has expressed concern over the death of nine doctors during the last two weeks.

“The PMA is distressed over the rapidly increasing number of doctors falling ill of Covid-19 and then dying of it even after being vaccinated. Unfortunately, nine doctors have died during last two weeks, which is dreadfully alarming. One of these nine doctors was from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and eight others from Sindh. Most of these ill-fated doctors were above 60 years of age,” the PMA said in a statement.

PMA secretary general Dr Qaisar Sajjad alleged that doctors’ safety was being neglected by the authorities and even doctors neglected their own safety.

“Death of nine doctors in a few days is a serious issue. Majority of doctors who died during the pandemic were those who were not directly involved in examining Covid-19 patients. They mostly got infected at their clinics because they were often seen being very lenient in adopting preventive measures to keep themselves safe. Unfortunately, due to this negligence, so far 216 doctors have died due to Covid-19 — 75 each in Punjab and Sindh, 56 in KP, six in Balochistan, three in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and one in Gilgit-Baltistan. Besides, 31 paramedics have died of coronavirus,” he said.

“In these circumstances, we suggest that doctors should always adopt SOPs to ensure their own protection. Nobody should think that getting a vaccine jab minimises the need to follow SOPs, so wear mask and put face shield while examining your patients and wash hands after examining each patient. The principle of ‘No mask, no entry’ should be strictly implemented at clinics,” Dr Sajjad said.