The World Health Organisation has recommended that the Punjab government enforce a strict two-week lockdown in the province to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a letter to the Punjab government, WHO lauded the provincial government’s efforts in response to the pandemic.
“Government intervention on April 12th 2020 detailing social distancing measures including restrictions, closure of schools and businesses, international travel restrictions and geographical area restrictions were instituted with the aim of limiting the spread of the disease,” the letter said.
The organisation said during the lockdown, the country was reporting 1,000 cases per day. However, this number increased after the federal government eased the lockdown in the country. “SOPs need to be strictly enforced to stem the spread of the virus,” the letter said.
Cases increasing beyond 100,000 in Pakistan is a cause for concern, WHO said.
- WHO recommends that for any government that wants to start lifting restrictions, the following six conditions must be met:
- Disease transmission is under control
- Health system can “detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact”
- Hot spot risks are minimized in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes
- Schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventive measures
- The risk of importing new cases “can be managed”
- Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal
WHO strongly recommends that the government adopts the two weeks off and two weeks on strategy as it offers the smallest curve. It also recommends strengthening all public health measures such as quarantine, isolation, physical distancing and contact tracing.
Given due consideration to the test positivity rate, developing testing capacity beyond 50,000 tests/day is extremely important, it said.