PAKISTAN-CORONAVIRUS/ RESISTANT TOWN
Local News Bhakkar, KULLAR KOT
News ID : 78551 Video Version : 1 Script Version : 1
As the world battles COVID 19, a small Pakistani town is untouched by the pandemic.
While the number of confirmed cases crosses 6,000,000 across the world,
with the death toll reaching 375,212, a small town in Pakistan’s
central Punjab seems to be almost unaware of the disease that has
created havoc across the world.
Shotlist: KULLAR KOT, PAKISTAN (JUNE 01, 2020) (VNA – ACCESS ALL)
- TIME LAPSE OF TRAFFIC AT RAILWAY CROSSING GATE IN KULLAR KOT TOWN
- VARIOUS OF RICKSHAWS AND CYCLES PASSING THROUGH LOCAL MARKET
- VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN MARKET PLACES
- VARIOUS OF VENDORS SELLING FRUIT AND VEGETABLES ON CARTS
- CUSTOMERS BUYING MANGOES FROM CART
- MAN ON BICYCLE BUYING GREEN CHILLIES FROM VENDOR
- (SOUNDBITE) (Punjabi) LOCAL RESIDENT HUSSAIN AHMED SIDDIQUI, SAYING:
- “There are no coronavirus patients here ; neither has anyone died of the disease. That is why all of us are walking around freely, without any fear.”
- FAMILY OF MOTORBIKE PASSING THROUGH MARKET
- VENDOR’S CART PASSING BY
- LOCAL GROCER AMJID RASHEED DEALING WITH CUSTOMERS IN HIS SHOP
- (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) LOCAL GROCER, AMJID RASHEED, SAYING:
- “Right in the beginning, a lot of people from here were picked up for corona testing. But gradually, almost 100 % of them were sent back because they tested negative. So, the fear that had spread among the people has almost vanished, and thank God all mosques and public places are always full . Yet the entire area is free of the disease. That is why you can hardly see anyone taking precautionary measures here.”
- PEOPLE IN SHOP
- (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) CUSTOMER IN GROCERY SHOP, MOHAMMAD KHALID SAYING:
- “We do not have any fears or concerns. If Allah has ordained that we have to die of coronavirus, we will die of coronavirus. It cannot be avoided, whether we lock ourselves in rooms , or roam out in the streets.”
- VARIOUS OF LOCAL SHOPKEEPER, HAFIZUR REHMAN RANA, SHOWING DIFFERENT FABRICS TO CUSTOMER
- (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) LOCAL SHOPKEEPER, HAFIZUR REHMAN RANA, SAYING:
- “ Actually, there are no reports about anyone getting coronavirus in Kullar Kot so far. So, we only wear masks when there is a big rush of people or when officials from the local government or the Health Department come for inspection. Otherwise we don’t wear them.”
- EXTERIOR OF DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS HOSPITAL, KULLAR KOT
- EXTERIOR OF CORONAVIRUS ISOLATION WARD.
- ISOLATION WARD STAFF NURSE SEATED AT HER DESK
- VARIOUS OF BEDS AND EQUIPMENT READY FOR CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS
- LOCAL JOURNALIST, SHABBIR AKHTAR, WORKING AT HIS DESK
- (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) LOCAL JOURNALIST, SHABBIR AKHTAR, SAYING:
- “There are two schools of thought here. One believes that Coronavirus actually exists. That it is a grave international pandemic, and that the whole world has been endangered by it. However, the rest of the people, including some religious groups and some less educated people say COVID 19 is not a real danger for Muslims. They say it is a conspiracy by international powers which is being propagated by them for their own ulterior motives. And all this is happening to bolster that plot.”
- WORSHIPPERS PERFORMING ABLUTIONS IN MOSQUE BEFORE PRAYERS
- SOCIAL DISTANCING MARKINGS ON MOSQUE FLOOR
STORY: While the world struggles with the COVID 19 pandemic, and the number of confirmed cases crosses 6,000,000 across the world, with the death toll reaching 375,212, a small town in Pakistan’s central Punjab seems to be almost unaware of the disease that has created havoc across the world.
Life is going on normally for the approximately 28,000 strong population of Kullar Kot, with no sign of masks, social distancing or any other Covid related SOPs that have become a staple across the world.
Analysts say as the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is giving rise to a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern in the population at large, and among certain groups in particular, such as older adults and people with underlying health conditions.
However, 65-year-old Kullar Kot resident, Hussain Ahmad Siddiqui, cheerfully strolled around in the crowded market of the town on Monday (June 01) .
“There are no coronavirus patients here ; neither has anyone died of the disease. That is why all of us are walking around freely, without any fear,” he told a VNA cameraman who was visiting the town.
Pakistan, a South Asian nation of 220 million has reported 72,160 coronavirus cases and 1,543 deaths, which jumped lately as high as 80 a day.
However, for some reason, the residents of Kullar Kot have been spared from getting infected uptil now.
A local trader said when the disease was first detected in Pakistan in March , Health Ministry officials had rounded up dozens of residents who had flu like symptoms, but all of them had tested negative, and were returned home. Since then, the tow had not seen any case of COVID 19 , no patient, no death.
A local hospital ward, all geared up as an isolation ward for COVID patients, lies vacant, with staff on duty sitting idle.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged the nation to act responsibly and learn how to live with the virus until at least by the end of this year, warning there would be more spread of infections and deaths.
Despite the fact that the COVID 19 situation is becoming very alarming across Pakistan, with the government insisting on social distancing and other SOPs, residents of Kullar Kot are neither wearing masks, nor practicing social distancing, even in mosques.
Congregational prayers are continuing with a majority of mosques in the remote town, ignoring the SOPs for congregational prayers.
Some residents of Kullar Kot said it was because they believed that death was in the hands of Allah, and could not be avoided by following SOPs put down by the government; others said they wore masks when health officials came around to check, otherwise not.
In a recent report , a renowned Pakistani health expert, Dr Saqib Ansari, said Pakistani population’s immunity might be because they remained exposed to a large number of pathogens throughout the year and their immune system remains active most of the time as it has to fight infections on a daily basis.