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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Pakistan records 137 Coronavirus deaths: Will ‘smart lockdown’ work?

According to official reports, 5,839 new infections were detected in the country over the past 24 hours, while record 136 people succumbed to the deadly disease. The government is certain to impose smart lockdown. Will it work?

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The countrywide tally of coronavirus cases has surged to 154,760 after 5,839 new infections were detected in the country over the past 24 hours, while record 136 people succumbed to the deadly disease. Analysts are mulling over if the smart lockdown will work as Pakistan records 137 Coronavirus deaths.

So far, 58,239 cases have been detected in Punjab, 57,868 in Sindh, 19,107 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 8,437 in Balochistan, 9,242 in Islamabad, 703 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 1,164 in Gilgit Baltistan, according to data released by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC).

With 136 more Covid-19 related fatalities recorded over the past 24 hours, the number of people succumbing to the disease in the country has jumped to 2,975so far. A total of 5,839 new cases were detected when 28,117 new tests were conducted during this period.

The number of people defeating the deadly virus has reached 58,437. So far, 950,782 tests have been conducted across the country.

While explaining why as COVID-19 spreading in Pakistan, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday urged the Punjab government to enforce a strict two-week lockdown in the province to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Pakistan records 137 Coronavirus deaths: WHO warns Pakistan

In a letter to the provincial government, the WHO strongly recommended that the government should adopt the “two weeks off and two weeks on” strategy as it offers the smallest curve. It also recommended strengthening of all public health measures such as quarantine, isolation, physical distancing and contact tracing.

The federal government recently told the Supreme Court (SC) that citizens were not taking the Covid-19 threat seriously after the apex court’s remarks the other day, making it difficult for the administration to take measures to curb the viral outbreak.

COVID-19 spreading in Pakistan: Private schools to be reopened in Sindh?

Terrifyingly, the heads of the Private Schools Action Committee (PSAC) said that education was not among the priorities of the government, adding that the school owners have decided to challenge the coronavirus ordinance and have already prepared school SOPs meaning they are going to reopen schools in Karachi from June 15.

The deadly pandemic is increasing in Pakistan and is likely to pose a serious public health crisis for the incumbent government in the coming days.  Private school owners and religious clerics announce to reopen madrassas regardless of what the government proposes to follow.

Members of the Private Schools Action Committee at the Karachi Press Club said that the continuous closure of schools has led to starvation in the homes of our teachers and employees, even paying the electricity bill and school rent has become increasingly difficult.

It is worth noting that the apex court not only ordered the reopening of shopping malls but also noted that Pakistan “is not … seriously affected” by Covid-19 and that there is no pandemic in the country. However, Pakistan has had at least 43,966 confirmed cases and more than 900 deaths since March, and the numbers keep rising. At least 500 Pakistani healthcare workers have been infected too, which shows that the country has been hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Notably, experts in Pakistan have warned against the premature easing of lockdown restrictions, fearing an exponential rise in infections. One healthcare worker said: “Everyone’s scared and exhausted. But we are fighting, we are pushing the limits. All we ask is that the government and people understand that they can help us help them by staying at home and providing us quality protective gear.”

Read More:  COVID-19: Why did the Supreme Court of Pakistan ignore experts’ opinion?

As Pakistan records 137 Coronavirus deaths, Pakistanis are largely violating the SOPs issued by the government to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Ahmed Usman, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, believes that: “Pakistani society is generally considered as a traditional society whose fabric is woven with the threads of norms, values, and cultures that are mostly shaped up by the complex theological underpinnings. Societal norms encourage social gatherings and overwhelming ways to express care, grief, and sorrow. The patterns of greetings are further formed as per religious frameworks that yet again emphasizes on kindness, generosity, and warmth ensured through reducing the physical gap between people. Religious rituals including Ibadaat at Mosques and religious congregations are considered compulsory in Islam. With this kind of widespread belief system, people believe that while they are in a state of ablution, no disease can harm them.”

As to why COVID-19 spreading in Pakistan, Dr. Usman notes that “arguably, the belief system encourages them to violate the man-made rules of lockdown that they think are baseless and a conspiracy of enemies to weaken the connection between God and them.  As lockdown restricts people from going to mosques and attending congregational prayers, it is considered an enemy’s tool to disconnect true Muslims from thy Lord.”