ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday appealed to the nation to celebrate Eidul Azha later this month with simplicity and strictly observe the standard operating procedures (SOPs) against coronavirus in order to prevent any resurgence of the contagious disease.
Talking to media after inaugurating the Isolation Hospital and Infectious Treatment Center (IHITC) in Islamabad, the prime minister said the curve of the pandemic was on a flattening trend in the country and any carelessness on Eid would lead to a fresh spike in Covid-19 cases.
“I appeal to the people not to do again what they did on previous Eid [Eidul Fitr]. Any public gathering causes the spread of the virus and puts pressure on hospitals, doctors, and nurses, besides causing deaths,” the prime minister remarked.
Imran stressed that effective measures, taken by the provinces on the advice of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), had “amazingly led to the flattening of coronavirus curve” even before the projected timeframe.
“The infection rate is on the downward trend [but] it could also surge again if the people showed negligence and violated the SOPs,” he said. “Just for the sake of national economy and wellbeing of the old-aged people and already ailing people, it is essential to observe Eid with simplicity,” he added.
He said the government had prepared SOPs for Eidul Azha and the sacrifice of the animal. “If we take care now, then we can manage, God willing, to come out of this pandemic better than other countries,” the prime minister said.
The prime minister lauded the “tremendous work” carried out by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for the completion of the hospital in record 100 days despite the lockdown impeding the movement of the people and transportation of material.
The IHITD has been built in record time with $4 million assistance from the Chinese government. Imran said that the completion of such a specialized hospital manifested the “political will of the government” to carry out the challenging tasks in difficult times.
Earlier, the prime minister unveiled the plaque to inaugurate the hospital. He visited different sections of the health facility. He was accompanied by Information Minister Shibli Faraz, Special Assistant on Information Asim Saleem Bajwa, and NDMA chief Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal and others.
Spread over 40-Kanal land, the 250-bed pre-fabricated facility is equipped with modern facilities to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. It includes five intensive care units, ventilators, nurse calling system as well as maiden E-ICU facility to allow doctors from abroad to treat patients through telemedicine.
On the occasion, the NDMA chairman thanked the governments of Pakistan and China, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing for extending their full cooperation to complete the task.
During a briefing on the project, the prime minister was informed that the hospital would be operated under the public-private philanthropic partnership for an interim period of up to December 2020 at a cost of around Rs300 million.