The numbers: As of Friday, the total number of covid-19 cases in Pakistan has risen to 308,217. The virus accounts for 6,437 deaths overall, five of which have been reported in the past 24 hours. 294,392 patients have successfully recovered from the disease. While rising fears over a second wave of the virus, 799 cases have been reported in Pakistan over the last 24 hours. Overall, Sindh has reported 134,845 cases, Punjab 98,686, whereas 37,470 infections have been reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 14,765 in Balochistan. The tally for Islamabad Capital Territory stands at 16,288, whereas Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir have reported 3,572 and 2,591 cases respectively.
Resurgence: The National Institute of Health (NIH) has issued an alert to health authorities, warning of the possible spread of several diseases including covid-19 in the winter season. A statement noted that the country may experience a rapid spread of covid-19 during the months between October and February. NIH advised authorities to keep a close eye on public health indicators and take necessary preventative measures. Prime Minister Imran Khan has also expressed concerns over a second wave of coronavirus during the winter months.
Compared to some other states, Allah has been kind to us in Pak & spared us worst effects of COVID-19. There is a fear onset of winter could result in 2nd wave. I urge everyone to wear face masks in public to avoid a spike. All offices & ed institutions must ensure masks are worn
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 4, 2020
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar attributes the recent spike in cases to the lack of precautions at marriage halls and restaurants. He noted that the spread can be contained by following the SOPs outlined by the government.
Micro-lockdowns: An abrupt surge in coronavirus cases has been observed across Pakistan. 60% of the positive cases have been reported in Karachi. Following the sudden rise, the provincial government has implemented mini smart lockdowns in multiple neighborhoods in the provincial capital. During these lockdowns, all business activities and public transport will be banned in these areas. Fearing a second wave of the virus after monitoring a rise in cases, the Punjab government has also administered micro lockdowns in high-risk areas of 36 districts.
Education: While the education sector was praised for strict adherence to SOPs during a National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting, it seems that the number of cases continues to rise after the opening of educational institutions. Despite alarming numbers and rising distress over the second wave of coronavirus, the Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood said that the government doesn’t plan to shut down educational institutions again.