The numbers: As of Thursday afternoon, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan is 321,218. Over the past 24 hours, 755 cases have been registered. In total, there have been 6,614 deaths due to the virus, and 305,395 patients have recovered. As fears of a second wave spread, Sindh has reported a total of 140,997 cases, while Punjab has reported 101,237 cases. The tally has reached 38,464 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 15,599 in Balochistan, and 17,681 in the Islamabad Capital Territory. Meanwhile, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir have 3,982 and 3,258 cases respectively.
Second wave: According to data collected over the past six weeks, the number of covid-19 cases in Pakistan has seen a significant rise. Implementation of 3,497 smart lockdowns in 103 districts of the country was discussed by the National Coordination Committee. It was also suggested that all unnecessary activities that do not affect the economy and education sector should be restricted in order to mitigate the virus spread. While a ban on public gatherings was also advised, Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasized that wearing masks, and following SOPs can help stop the virus from spreading, as the winter months could see a second wave of the virus. Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar also stressed on the necessity of risk mitigation in order to prevent a second covid-19 wave from taking over the country. He said that people had followed SOPs before and reduced the spread of the virus in the past few months.
Educational institutions: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) predicted that the second spike of coronavirus will emerge from schools and educational institutions. It was mentioned that similar patterns were observed in other countries like India, Iran, and the United States. Moreover, the positivity rate in Pakistan has spiked since the opening of these institutions. The PMA also criticized the implementation of SOPs and said that it was non-existent in schools. On the other hand, the Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood announced that the federal government has no plans to shut down schools and educational institutions again. The World Health Organisation also expressed concern about the situation in schools and suggested that the covid-19 testing among students should be increased to gather information about the level of prevalence of the virus in the educational institutions. WHO also suggested taking preventative steps before the second wave of the virus takes over.