Public rallies should be postponed to contain the virus: Ulema

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LAHORE: Pakistani Ulema on Thursday unanimously agreed that public rallies should be postponed considering the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Religious scholars were having a meeting with the President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi to discuss the role of mosque in spreading awareness about COVID-19 and how Ulema can convince people to follow the government’s coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Speaking to the scholars, President Alvi said that akin to the government, religious scholars have also expressed their concern over the rising number of cases in the country during the ongoing second wave of the infection.

“It has been decided that a day of prayer will be observed on December 4,” President Alvi said. “The Ulema have also urged people to be careful when they are going to markets and other crowded places.”

President Alvi said that back in April, religious scholars had fully assisted the government with the implementation of the SOPs, adding that the Ulema agree with the government’s stance and have appealed to the opposition to postpone public rallies to contain the virus.

All provincial governors, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri and Interior Miniter Ijaz Shah were in attendance. 

Prior to the meeting, Governor Punjab Mohammad Sarwar said the government will finalise SOPs in consultation with the Ulema. Sarwar urged all sections of society to play their role in containing the spread of the virus.

“PDM should also stop holding rallies and save the public from the coronavirus,” he said.

Alarming situation

The number of active coronavirus cases in Pakistan crossed the 50,000 mark on Wednesday, reaching yet another grim milestone as the second wave of COVID-19 infections surge across the country, according to the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) tally.

The country reported 3,499 new infections in the past 24 hours, raising the total tally to 406,810 as active cases climb to 51,654. The NCOC data shows the pandemic’s pace in Pakistan has quickened as the tally crossed 400,000 on December 1 with at least 29,881 new cases reported in the last 10 days only.

Read more: Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah recovers from coronavirus

The highest number of coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours was reported in Sindh with 1,983 infections. Punjab came second with 727 new cases, Islamabad recorded 417, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 218, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 85, Balochistan 53, and Gilgit Baltistan 16.

With the virus claiming 39 lives, the country’s death toll climbed to 8,205 – 3,091 of which are recorded in Punjab, 2,968 in Sindh, KP has reported 1,378 deaths, AJK 173, Balochistan 169 and GB 97.

The NCOC data showed 346,951 people have recovered from the virus up until now – 1,586 in the past 24 hours.

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