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Covid-19 in Pakistan: Daily infections decline as experts credit smart lockdowns

FBR has exempted coronavirus medication from taxes, while government updated SOPs keeping Eid-ul-Azha in mind
by TR Pakistan

The numbers: As of Thursday evening, the total number of coronavirus infections in Pakistan has reached 192,970 including 3,903 fatal cases. The tally of covid-19 cases stands at 71,191 cases in Punjab, 74,070 in Sindh, 23,387 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and 9,817 in Balochistan. Islamabad has 11,710 cases whereas Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir have 1,365 and 930 cases respectively.

Social distancing: During the past week, the daily count of reported coronavirus cases in Pakistan has reduced. The tally of total deaths caused by the virus in one day has also observed a decline even though testing capabilities have increased. Experts say that this welcome decline has been caused by smart lockdowns implemented in various covid-19 hotspots around the country. In seven cities, areas with high infection rates have been sealed with restricted movement and police have been deployed at all entry and exit areas. The decisions and identification of areas that went under smart lockdowns, had been delegated to deputy commissioners of each district.

 Violations: Despite the emphasis on smart lockdowns, the health guidelines and restrictive measures regarding the movement of citizens have been violated repeatedly. The inability of law enforcement authorities to restrict the movement of citizens can result in an increasing number of infections once again. In spite of violations, smart lockdowns will be imposed in an additional 40 areas of Lahore.

 Eid-ul-Azha preparations: As the country gets ready for Eid-ul-Azha next month, markets for sacrificial animals add to the concerns of further violations of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the spread of the virus. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sacrificial animal markets will be set up as usual and allowed to trade, provided that they follow the SOPs in place whereas the Sindh government has not allowed any markets to be set up for this purpose. Markets in Punjab, on the other hand, will be set up only outside the city limits of Lahore.

 Removal of taxes: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has exempted duty imposed on the import of medicine used in the treatment of covid-19, called Remdesivir. The exemption of taxes has also been implemented on 60 other items, which can aid doctors in the identification and treatment of the virus.