The numbers: As of Thursday afternoon, Pakistan’s tally of total covid-19 cases has reached 286,673 of which 264,060 patients have recovered. Among the provinces, Sindh has reported the highest number of infections at 124,929 cases whereas Punjab is second at 94,865. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have reported 34,947 and 12,044 cases respectively. The Islamabad Capital Territory has 15,323, Gilgit Baltistan stands at 2,402 infections, while Azad Jammu & Kashmir has 2,164 coronavirus cases.
Road to recovery: After a concerning rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Punjab after Eid-ul-Azha, Pakistan witnessed an increase in the recovery rate of its patients up to 91%. Asad Umar, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives claimed that the country’s recovery rate, as well as the death toll, are much better than other countries in the region. While he welcomed this improvement in the situation, he warned that a lack of precaution, and violation of SOPs, by the masses can worsen the circumstances and force us back into lockdown. He explained that violation of SOPs is not just a health issue, as it affects many other businesses and livelihoods as well. Umar also commended the government’s ‘world-class’ trace test and quarantine system.
Return to pre-covid-19: Six months after coronavirus disease entered the country, the federal government has allowed reopening of almost all pre-covid-19 activities. Business centers, including markets, restaurants, hotels, tourism, parlors are all allowed to open without any restriction. However, there is an emphasis on following SOPs and maintaining precautionary measures to ensure the virus doesn’t spread again. Schools and marriage halls will remain closed until September 15.
Around the world: As the worldwide tally of coronavirus cases crosses 20 million, the death toll is expected to rise above 750,000 soon. According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) there is still hope that we can crush the pandemic despite constantly rising cases. In a virtual press conference, he cited examples of countries that have handled the pandemic well and said that if the disease can be sufficiently suppressed, societies, economies and daily life can start up again. On the other hand, Russia has announced a coronavirus vaccine, which will be made available for its medical workers in a few weeks. While only 10% of the clinical trials of this vaccine have proved successful, the country has granted regulatory approval and plans to produce 5 million doses a month by December-January.