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Coronavirus Coronavirus Updates Governance

Pakistan Needs To Embrace For The Second Outbreak Before It Is Too Late

The government may start implementing grassroots screening from any preferred area to check the feasibility and success ratio of it. Lifting the lockdown, without the grassroots screening, will surely be a planned collective suicide, writes Syed Ghulam Abbas.

The easing of lockdown, amidst the first outbreak of COVID-19, is being considered a necessary evil by the global leadership. However, the countries like Pakistan are going to suffer a great deal due to the deviant behavior of the masses and their inability to comply with the conditions of the eased lockdown.

According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 is not going anywhere; we need to adapt to live with it. But I believe that before devising any strategy for adaptation, we need to brace ourselves to withstand the second breakout. According to the experts, the second outbreak is believed to be more deadly than the first one, and the death toll would be too high to control, for an already crumbling economy like Pakistan’s.

With the start of this pandemic, testing the people for COVID-19 was one of the biggest challenges for Pakistan. But this challenge was overcome to an extent, by adopting the pool testing methodology. This methodology was an economical methodology, which made it possible for the countries with limited resources to screen and treat a larger number of people in the available resources.

Pakistan is using the pool testing methodology successfully, but I believe that subjecting only the reported symptomatic cases to pool testing would not help combat the second breakout. It is alleged by many medical researchers that the asymptomatic carriers are spreading the virus more frequently than the symptomatic ones. In the current scenario, the lifting up of lockdown will expose the entire population to the hovering threat of the second outbreak and has got the full potential to bring a tsunami of death and economic crisis.

In the context of the already dwindling economic situation and the poor medical capacity of the country, there is a need to carry out a carpet screening. The government should use the pool testing mechanism for testing on the grassroots level. I suggest that the swabs from every single household should be collected as one single pool and should be subjected to the test and so on. The households showing positive results should be tested individually and quarantined until they recover.

The government may start implementing grassroots screening from any preferred area to check the feasibility and success ratio of it. Lifting the lockdown, without the grassroots screening, will surely be a planned collective suicide. I have worked out a research proposal on the carpet screening and looking forward to presenting it to the concerned authorities to give it a shot, before they make any conclusive decision on lifting the lockdown. We need an immediate plan to limit the spread of the virus, before it is too late.

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