Pakistan Surpasses 100,000 Coronavirus Cases
The number of new coronavirus infections in Pakistan continued to spiral upward, as the nation of 220 million people surpassed 100,000 cases as of Sunday with more than 2,000 deaths.
The daily infection rate spiked after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan ended, and markets were thrown open during the Eid-al Fitr holiday at the end of May. That followed the government refusing to close mosques and deciding to open up the country even as medical professionals pleaded for a stricter lockdown,
Since then, the daily infection rates have held relatively steady with just under 5,000 new cases each day. Testing has stayed constant in recent days at about 22,000 each day, with government officials saying Pakistan aimed to carry out 30,000 tests every day eventually.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has maintained despite growing infections and fatalities, and the country would require to learn to “live with” the disease to avoid forcing tens of millions living on daily wages into indigence.
A revision of government data tells over 20,000 cases of the virus were identified in the three weeks before the lockdown was raised, and more than double that amount were identified in the three weeks since.
To be sure, testing rates have also increased. But of those tested, the everyday average of positive results rose from, on average 11.5% in the three weeks before the lockdown was elevated, to 15.4% on average in the following three weeks. The rate is about 23% this week, according to the data.
Pakistan has officially identified over 103,671 cases of COVID-19, with 2,067 confirmed deaths.
“Those figures are disturbing since they do imply there may still be extensive transmission in several parts of the country,” Claire Standley, an assistant research professor at the Department of International Health at Georgetown University, told Reuters.
Specialists say measures that could control spread– like limits on religious congregations and crowded markets and stressing physical distancing – should be redeemed and some doctors are increasing the alarm.
Pakistan lifted its lockdown on May 9, about two weeks before the Eid al-Fitr festivity that signifies the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and is rejoiced with family get-togethers and feasting. Transport and most businesses have re-opened but cinemas, eateries and schools remain shut.
There has been rising discussion among specialists globally on whether populated developing countries can afford full social distancing measures to restrain the coronavirus while evading economic destruction.
Some officials have recommended “herd immunity” could hold the virus. In these circumstances, sufficient people in a population have contracted immunity to the disease to be able to prevent that disease from spreading efficiently. But, the World Health Organization has warned countries that have “lax measures” in place against counting on people immunity to block the spread of COVID-19.