Government effectiveness questioned as Pakistan reports virus deaths

COVID-19 cases in Pakistan have jumped to 171,577 after 6,604 new infections were detected over the past 24 hours while 153 more people succumbed to the deadly disease. Is smart lockdown ineffective?

Pakistan reports new cases

The countrywide tally of coronavirus cases has jumped to 171,577 after 6,604 new infections were detected in Pakistan over the past 24 hours while 153 more people succumbed to the deadly disease. As Pakistan reports the highest single-day virus deaths, there are questions regarding the effectiveness of smart lockdown imposed by the government.

According to data released by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 64,216 cases have been detected in Punjab so far, 65,163 in Sindh, 20,790 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 9,162 in Balochistan, 10,279 in Islamabad, 803 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 1,253 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Read More: Why are COVID-19 cases increasing in Pakistan?

With 153 more Covid-19 related fatalities recorded over the past 24 hours, the number of people dying from the disease in the country has soared to 3,382. A total of 6,604 new cases were detected when 31,681 tests were conducted during this period.

As Pakistan reports the highest single-day virus deaths, the number of people defeating the deadly virus has reached 63,504. So far, 1,042,787 tests have been conducted across the country.

Analysts believe that the government has remained ‘unclear’ as to how can the virus be contained. Initially, Prime Minister Imran Khan not only said “the COVID-19 is like flu” and did not wear a mask while holding meetings, but he also openly opposed the provinces’’ decision to impose complete lockdown. Later on, although the premier accepted that the challenge is real but blamed the public for violating SOPs and not adhering to the official pronouncements. The government apparently failed to have an effective communication mechanism to urge the people to ensure physical distancing and follow all the prescribes SOPs.

Pakistan reports the highest single-day virus deaths: 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.

Read More: After successfully containing COVID-19, Pakistan goes for smart lockdown

As Pakistan reports the highest single-day virus deaths, 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 with quality protective gear.”

Why are Pakistanis violating SOPs?

Pakistan reports the highest single-day virus deaths but 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.”

Read More: Pakistan’s positivity rate of the COVID-19 is 22%, WHO

As Pakistan reports the highest single-day virus deaths, 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.”

Media reports and official claims confirm that the public is failing to follow the SOPs across the country. Resultantly, COVID-19 are exponentially increasing and the government is now imposing smart lockdown which is still proving to be ineffective. The government has been suggested to improve its communication mechanism to restore its credibility in order to contain the virus.

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