Islamabad, 25 April, 2020: “Within the span of this week alone, Pakistan’s medical community has asked the government three times to reconsider its decision to ease lockdown measures. But is the government paying any heed to these requests? No. The Federal government needs to stop playing pandemic politics and get serious about saving lives.” PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said.
She added, “Unlike what the Federal government says, the doctors have not gotten together in different cities to raise the alarm on any party or province’s behest. They are health professionals and basically at this point they are sending a warning to the leadership of this country that this situation will get worse”.
Rehman commented on Sindh’s progress and said, “From day one, Sindh government has given priority to what the health experts have said. We had to take the tough decision that taraweeh prayers will only be offered by mosque’s administration as it is the government’s responsibility to take these difficult decisions but we did this especially keeping in mind doctors’ recommendations. Sindh has also established Pakistan’s biggest testing laboratory’, with a capacity to conduct 800 tests on a daily basis”.
“Sindh government is trying its best to make Ramzan easy for people and have decided not to set up ‘Ramazan Bachat Bazars’ in the province to avoid gathering of customers during these testing times. Supply of fruit and vegetables would be ensured at shops and stalls, and people would also be able to place online orders for fruit and vegetable on official fixed prices during the Holy month of Ramazan”, she added.
“Federal government needs to treat this as a medical emergency. Pakistan’s underfunded health sector is barely able to cope with the regular caseload, let alone an exceptional emergency like the present. We need to listen to our medical community and ‘flatten the curve’ by enforcing a strict lockdown. It is high time that we upgrade our healthcare infrastructure. Once this pandemic is over, we need to review our spending on health, which is less than 1% of GDP – the lowest in South Asia” the Senator said.
Commenting on the spike of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan, the Senator said that,” What is even more shocking is that 79% of the total COVID-19 cases are locally transmitted. Health Experts predict that the situation has become a national health emergency and soon will be out of our hands”.
Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by lauding the efforts of the medical community and said, “Each day medical professionals are putting their lives on the line as they come into contact with those infected by the virus, from the initial testing stage and throughout treatment. Yet they are not being provided with enough PPEs and masks and are being told to ration them. Some of them are forced to buy from their own money. Is this how we should be treating our heroes? The Federal government needs to understand that this is a matter of saving lives and the doctors know best. There is no denying that.”.