At least 59 people lost their lives to COVID-19 in Pakistan over the past 24 hours, the highest daily virus-related deaths in four months, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.
The previous daily record was 42 fatalities reported on Saturday since July, and the country’s overall death toll has now hit 7,662.
Another 2,665 fresh infections were found in the last 24 hours, pushing the country’s overall tally to 374,173 with 36,683 active cases. Some 329,828 patients have recovered so far.
The country conducted 38,983 tests in the past day. Alone in November, Pakistan has so far reported nearly 38,000 new infections, following a second wave of the novel virus.
Following doctors’ advice, the government has banned large public events and enhanced restrictions to stem the virus’s spread.
Outdoor gatherings of all sorts, including political events, have been limited to a maximum of 300 people, while cinemas, theaters, and shrines have been closed.
A defiant opposition alliance, which has recently launched a protest movement to oust the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has, however, refused to postpone its planned rallies.
In the Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the government has imposed a 15-day strict lockdown starting from Saturday midnight, following a spike in infections.
Following a surge in cases in educational institutes, the government is also considering announcing winter vacations before schedule.
Authorities have already announced closure of all parks and entertainment venues by 6 p.m. local time, and markets, shopping centers, and restaurants by 10 p.m. nationwide.
In May, Pakistan eased virus restrictions and reopened businesses which had been closed since March.
How did Pakistan deal with coronavirus?
Experts are mulling over the question as to what helped Pakistan combat the COVID-19 outbreak. A young population, robust immune systems, and a system of localized “smart” lockdowns have all been touted as reasons for the fall in cases, but health officials admit the actual reasons still remain unclear.
“One ought to have a little humility in this,” Dr Faisal Sultan, an infectious diseases expert who worked as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser for COVID-19, told to the Telegraph that, “There are always great unknowns in science and epidemiology and complex social sciences and interactions. If anyone says they really know a final answer, they are wrong.”
“I think it’s a little bit of many things. Part of it is we are just lucky and the age distribution of the country is such that we were expected to have as many severe cases as you would expect in say the US, or Italy or the UK,” he added.
Volkan Bozkir, president-elect of the United Nations General Assembly, has endorsed the country’s gains in the fight against the pandemic. Bill Gates, an American business magnate and philanthropist, has also lauded Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak in a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk