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Covid-19 in Pakistan: Govt credits SOPs, administrative measures for decreasing infections

The standard operating procedures continue to be reaffirmed, as govt implements smart lockdowns and mulls Eid-ul-Azha plans
by TR Pakistan

The numbers: As Pakistan enters its fifth month dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, The tally of nationwide infections has reached 217,809 with 4,473 fatal cases. 77,740 cases have been reported so far in Punjab, 86,795 in Sindh, 10,608 in Balochistan, and 26,938 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The total number of cases in Islamabad capital territory is 13,082 whereas it is 1,511 and 1,135 cases in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

Social distancing: As smart lockdowns continue across the country, the number of cases has declined by 40%. However, the Sindh Health Department expressed discontentment with the smart lockdowns in Karachi and recommended the government to place curfews. As covid-19 infections increase in the city, the health department suggested a lockdown in over 180 union councils with a high infection rate.  In Islamabad, the authorities have commenced a coronavirus testing campaign in 10 slums and informal settlements, which are high-risk areas for virus transmission.

Decreasing numbers: The government revised the earlier prediction of reaching 300,000 covid-19 cases by the end of June. According to Planning Minister Asad Umar, the nation had realized their responsibility, stayed at homes, and followed the standard operating procedures (SOPs), which is why the cases being predicted now, are 250,000. He said that the government had to take some administrative measures, and citizens can understand that by taking these precautions, Pakistan has managed to lower the number of covid-19 cases.

Power outages: The government’s power division made a decision to stop power outages or load shedding in areas that are under smart lockdowns, even if the feeders of those areas are in loss. The decision was taken to give relief to the public quarantined in their homes to curb the spread of the virus.

Cattle markets: In the wake of the pandemic, cattle markets set up for the sacrificial animals before Eid-ul-Azha can be a major factor in the transmission of diseases. The government has taken measures to ensure that this is not the case, by allocating spaces for the animal markets and issuing guidelines about SOPs whereas the online sale of cattle or their meat is also being promoted.  However, illegal markets have been sprouting up in many areas without government supervision. Some district authorities have even waived off taxes on the sale of cattle, along with strict termination of sale outside of the allocated spaces.

No vaccine: Since first emerging in China at the end of 2019, the work on developing a vaccination for the SARS-CoV-2 virus has remained ongoing. Antivirals have been repurposed for covid-19, while therapies helping cure patients have also been deployed. In the UAE, for instance, stem cell therapy is helping cure covid-19 patients. In South Asian countries, including Pakistan, existing antivirals are being used to help coronavirus patients. However, there still is no vaccine for covid-19, which remains in the works.

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