Anwar Zeb

Besides general public, health department officials are also not following Covid-19 SOPs.

Recently, KP Health department has extended the health emergency for three more months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During the emergency, authorities are urging the general public to wear mask and follow social distancing.

On the other, majority of people, having grown used to pandemic, are not paying any heed to the SOPs. This disregard for the SOPs is causing concerns among health department officials.

A TNN reporter reviewed the implementation of SOPs and public attitudes towards them at the province’s biggest health facility, the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

At the entrance, hospital officials could be seen making announcement through loudspeakers and urging people to wear masks and follow social distancing rules. The public is reminded they will not be allowed to enter the hospital without a facemask.

Though the patients wear masks while entering the hospital; however, take it off soon after entering the facility. Many of the patients said that they are now fed up of wearing mask and feel like suffocating with a mask.

A patient visiting the hospital pointed towards other people who were not wearing masks. “When we see other people without masks, we also feel the face coverings unnecessary,” he said.

Javed, a LRH employee was also seen without a facemask. When his attention was drawn towards his non-adherence to the SOPs, he admitted his mistake.

He said that everyone should wear masks.

Vaccination and SOPs are the only way to beat the virus

LRH Covid-19 in-charge Dr Zubair Bhatti said that health emergency has been extended for three months. “Health emergency constitutes focusing on a particular illness as first priority, constituting teams of doctors and stopping other unnecessary functions,” he said.

Dr Bhatti said that the fifth wave of the pandemic, fuelled by the Omicron variant was in progress. However, he added many people do not follow SOPs.

Dr Bhatti said that though the Omicron was not that deadly as compared to other variants but everyone should vaccinate themselves against the virus.

Besides, he said that it was equally important to wear face mask and observe social distancing.

Regarding general public, Dr Bhattai said that they could not harshly implement face mask condition on those visiting hospital. He said that if entry of those not wearing masks was completely banned, then it will lead to other issues.

Dr Bhattai said that the only way to beat the pandemic was in vaccinating oneself against the virus and observing Covid-19 SOPs.

“Those who are fully vaccinated, should also get the booster dose as well,” he added.

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