Pakistan Records more than 100 Virus Deaths in Day
Pakistan recorded more than 100 deaths in a single day from COVID-19 for the first time since keeping statistics in mid-March, when the country first imposed a lockdown that has never been total.
As of Tuesday, Pakistan recorded 108,316 coronavirus infections, with 4,646 new cases and a death toll that has climbed to 2,172 amid warnings from Prime Minister Imran Khan that Pakistan is unlikely to see a peak in infections before August.
Record figures for new infections over the last ten days notably reflect extended testing. According to the official statistics, authorities have so far conducted 660,508 tests across the country with a population of around 220 million.
Of 23,000 regular tests, more than 1 in 5 have been positive over the last ten days. Before the lockdown was elevated on May 9, the number of tests detecting the coronavirus was nearly 1 in 10, government statistics reveal.
Despite criticism from medical professionals and opposition politicians, Khan has continued to ease lockdown restrictions saying the country’s ailing economy would collapse, and the poorest among the country’s 220 million would suffer the most for prolonged lockdowns.
Pakistan’s poverty level hovers around 30 percent, measured as those who earn $1.90 a day or less. Pakistanis have stubbornly refused to take precautions like wearing masks and social distancing even as Khan went on television late on Monday to reprimand the population and plead with them to wear masks.
The south Asian country lifted its lockdown last month, placing protocols for the reopening of markets, industries, and public transportation, including the compulsory wearing of masks and physical distancing.
But Planning Minister Asad Umar, who is in command of the national response to the virus outbreak, told a weekend news interview that many markets and shops had been sealed due to non-compliance over the last few days.
Government executives say that safety measures are not being attended, especially since before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which denotes the end of Ramadan’s holy fasting month.
The ruling to lift the lockdown on May 9 despite rising infections of the disease, was prompted by a worsening economic disaster and massive lay-offs.
Pakistan is the 16th country to surpass 100,000 infections, government data confirmed on Monday.
Infections among high profile political figures have also grown in the country, with Minister for Railways Shaikh Rasheed, and former prime minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also testing positive on Monday.