The government of Pakistan has made it mandatory for people to wear face masks in public places, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on health said Saturday.
“As the government of Pakistan, we are making the use of masks mandatory,” Dr Zafar Mirza, PM Khan’s special assistant, told reporters in Islamabad. “It is no more an option…not your wish…you should use it.”
Local transmissions of the coronavirus are now at 92%, said Dr Mirza, adding that at least 78 people, including four healthcare professionals have died in Pakistan in the last 24 hours.
“Wherever you think social distancing is not appropriate or the place is crowded, then it is mandatory to wear a mask there,” PM Khan’s special assistant on health said. “We are talking about a surgical mask. It could be a cloth mask.”
“We have several SOPs for different places but I want to give you a list of six or seven [places] where it is mandatory to wear masks…in mosques, bazars, shops, shopping malls, public transport, including plane, trains, buses or wagons.”
He said that the virus has so far claimed 1,395 lives in Pakistan and “unfortunately”, the cases and number of deaths will rise in the coming days.
The government’s top health official complained that even opinion makers are sharing wrong information on social media with their followers. He gave an example of a religious scholar who he didn’t name. He said the scholar said in a video that people should not go to hospitals because they will be mistreated there.
“I request the opinion makers to only share right information with their followers. Our healthcare system is under pressure,” he added.