KARACHI: Speakers at a press conference held on Tuesday at the local press club expressed serious concerns over irresponsible conduct of citizens following relaxation in the lockdown and described it as “a public health disaster in the making”.
They also criticised the federal government for its “lack of understanding” in containing the spread of Covid-19.
“Yesterday, after relaxation of the lockdown, we noted with horror that most people on streets, shopkeepers and salesmen, and even policemen and journalists were either not wearing face masks at all or not using it properly. We also saw people with three to four children travelling on bikes and in rickshaws without any precaution,” said Dr Shershah Syed, senior physician-cum-activist.
There were no preventive measures in place at some private and government hospitals and patients were seen with their attendants in crowded waiting areas, he said, describing the situation as “explosive”.
“If the government doesn’t want a lockdown, it should ensure with the help of law enforcement agencies that everyone strictly follow the precautionary measures which should be repeated on the radio and television to create mass awareness.”
Sharing some suggestions, he said the government should launch free distribution of quality masks and impose heavy fine on those who did not take measures at public places, putting others at risk.
“All salesmen and workers in shops should have their Covid-19 test negative and should wear mask all the time. All policemen dealing with rowdy and angry public should wear proper masks all the time.
“Journalists and media persons should also wear masks while in the community and not mix in the crowd. Hospitals should only deal with emergencies,” he said.
He added that these precautions were not an alternative to the lockdown, but might save some lives.
Endorsing these points, Dr Habiba Hasan emphasised that the government must learn from the countries which successfully contained the infection and demonstrated seriousness towards public health issues.
Artist-cum-activist Sheema Kermani said: “We all must eat less and shouldn’t celebrate Eid this year.”
“Every one of us should try to help the needy. It’s unfortunate that private schools and universities are not giving salaries to their staff,” she regretted.