The numbers: After a record 3,300 infections on Thursday, Pakistan’s tally of confirmed covid-19 cases crossed 50,000. As of Friday afternoon, Pakistan’s death toll due to coronavirus infections is 1,067, whereas 15,201 people have recovered from it. Across the country, 50,694 coronavirus patients have tested positive. Punjab has confirmed 18,455, Sindh 19,924, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 7,155, and Balochistan 3,074. Islamabad has reached 1,235 cases whereas Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir have 602 and 148 positive cases respectively.
Social distancing in markets: The Supreme Court issued orders to open shopping malls and markets less than a week before Eid. Most businesses and retail shops were allowed to open across the country with strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place. Previously, such businesses were only allowed to open during weekdays in Punjab.
Living with covid-19: Shopping malls, businesses, and markets were reopened just before Eid in Punjab, with SOPs in place from 9 am to 5 pm. Restaurants will be opened after Eid and wearing a mask in public is now mandatory. In a recent development, the timings for markets and shopping centers has been increased till 10 pm. Sindh, meanwhile, relaxed lockdown restrictions just enough to allow congregational prayers on Eid and other holy Islamic days. The Sindh government has not allowed resumption of public transport until Eid and opposed the commencement of railways across Pakistan. In Balochistan, shops, businesses, and shopping malls will be opened after Eid from 8 am to 6 pm. The lockdown has been extended till June 2 and citizens have been asked not to enter or exit the provincial capital Quetta due to a large number of cases found in the city. While Khyber Pakhtunkhwa opened shops and retail outlets from May 22 to 24 with timings till 5 pm, the province is still suffering from a shortage of protective equipment for health workers.
TeleSchool: The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training launched a mobile application for students and parents. This application will be used by the government to receive feedback from stakeholders about the television channel launched to aid students unable to attend schools due to coronavirus related restrictions. The ministry also announced an SMS service via 8228 numbers for the same purpose.
Plasma therapy: After the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) granted approval of passive immunization in early April, Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUH) is conducting trials to assess the effectiveness of plasma therapy. Researchers involved in the trials aim to conclude whether plasma therapy, a form of passive immunization, helps coronavirus patients recover front he disease. The technique involves injecting the plasma, which contains antibodies, of a recovered patient into someone suffering from covid-19 and monitoring their response.