PESHAWAR -UNS: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has made it necessary for people to wear masks in public places, said KP Finance and Health Minister Taimur Jhagra at a news conference.
“The chief minister’s task force has made it mandatory for public to wear masks in public places,” he said, adding that it was possible that people would have to live with the coronavirus for two to three years.
“I must clarify that it is not necessary for you to wear a surgical mask. Public must not wear masks to protect themselves only. You must protect others as well for when you speak, your droplets come out or you protect others [with the mask] from your sneeze,” he said.
He said that it wasn’t necessary for people to wear surgical masks. The minister said that people could wear an old shirt or a piece of cloth to protect others from getting infected from them.
Jhagra said that the measure will be enforced in three phases. “For the first 72 hours, we will take a soft approach. Over the next week, we will focus more on the implementation. A week after that, we will try that the public, at least in the province’s major cities, are wearing masks,” he said.
The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan have soared past 11,500. As many as 244 have succumbed to the virus so far in Pakistan. Ever since the coronavirus emerged from the wet markets in Wuhan, China, the disease has killed more than 180,000 around the globe and infected more than 2.8 million.
Pakistan reported its first case of the virus on February 26, 2020. The past couple of days have shown that the local transmission of the virus has increased manifold.
As the government, led by the prime minister, refuse to implement a strict lockdown, several of the country’s leading doctors have called on authorities to take the matter seriously.
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has urged the government and ulema to reconsider their 20-point agreement whereby worshippers will be allowed to pray inside mosques.
The economic impact of the virus has troubled Pakistan’s government as Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the country was going through a “severe crisis” because of the COVID-19.