Pakistan surpasses China in number of coronavirus cases

Pakistan has reported its highest increase of coronavirus cases within 24 hours. The new total takes the country over China's total tally. This is extremely worrying for the economy and healthcare system. Could aid programs give Pakistan some relief?

pakistan surpasses china coronavirus cases

Pakistan’s tally of coronavirus cases has surpassed China reaching 85,189 on Thursday, according to the Health Ministry.

China has reported 82,933 cases and 4,638 deaths since the start of the outbreak last December, according to the data of Johns Hopkins University.

Pakistan surpasses China coronavirus cases

In Pakistan, a total of 4,688 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day rise ever, landing the country at the 17th spot in terms of coronavirus cases, the data shows.

Another 82 patients lost their lives due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, across the country, raising the death toll from the pandemic to 1,770. Some 30,128 patients have recovered.

According to the official statistics, authorities have so far conducted 615,511 tests across the country.

In China, the initial coronavirus wave has died down.

This week, Wuhan’s public health authorities reported that they are nearly done testing some 11 million city inhabitants for the SARS-CoV-2, the mysterious pathogen first discovered there in December.

Wuhan was ground zero in the pandemic. Now that the dust has settled, only around 300 people have tested positive for the virus, with most being asymptomatic or presenting very few symptoms. According to China’s National Health Commission (NHC), only 16 people tested positive in mainland China on May 31.

Pakistan surpasses China coronavirus cases: ease in lockdown to blame?

Pakistan has reported its highest numbers of COVID-19 deaths and infections in a single day since the pandemic struck the South Asian nuclear state in March, prompting health experts to call for a “strict” lockdown to contain it. Many feel that this increase in coronavirus cases in Pakistan is due to the recent ease in lockdown restrictions.

Read more: Increase in coronavirus cases in Pakistan highest yet

Earlier in May, the government of Pakistan had ended a lockdown that had been in place since mid-March, prompting fierce criticism domestically and internationally. Unlike Britain, which is undergoing a transition toward return of economic activity in phases, Pakistan opened all business in the span of a week, which has further complicated the coronavirus situation in Pakistan.

Pakistanis not taking coronavirus precautions seriously 

The government has declared wearing of face mask mandatory at the public places in a desperate attempt to stem the fast-expanding pandemic.

In the capital Islamabad, violators will be fined, and could be sent to the jail, according to an official notification.

However, founder of Islamabad Chamber for Small Traders and former President ICCI Shahid Rasheed Butt on Saturday said a large number of masses and the businesspersons seem unconcerned about precautionary measures that is resulting in the spread of coronavirus. Traders are not wearing masks and gloves while disallowing the employees to observe SOPs which is very worrying, he noted.

The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Dr. Zafar Mirza said in May that the prevailing situation of the coronavirus in the country is not disastrous due to the government’s effective measures.

Read more: Dr. Zafar Mirza says coronavirus in Pakistan not disastrous 

According to media reports, he said the testing capacity of coronavirus patients has been increased and that is why more patients are being reported. Dr. Zafar Mirza said the government is taking on board the provincial governments regarding all the decisions to contain COVID-19.

However, the fact that Pakistan has surpassed China in coronavirus cases is very troubling. It clearly shows that the measures being taken by people in Pakistan are not effective enough.

Pakistan to receive support 

The United Nations (UN) in May issued a new call for $4.7 billion aid in funding to “protect millions of lives and stem the spread of coronavirus in fragile countries.”

Read more: PM IK’s call heard at UN: $4.7 bn aid urged to confront coronavirus hit states incl. Pakistan

The money is on top of the $2 billion the UN already called for when it launched its global humanitarian response plan on March 25. It has received about half of that money so far.

“The most devastating and destabilizing effects” of the novel coronavirus pandemic “will be felt in the world’s poorest countries,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said in the statement.

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has also approved a $500 million programme to help Pakistan improve access to quality healthcare and education, support economic opportunities for women, and strengthen social safety nets as the country braces to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Securing Human Investments to Foster Transformation (SHIFT) programme will support policy reforms to help Pakistan’s COVID-19 emergency response and protect human capital investments, said a statement issued here.

According to the World Bank, the initiative will support greater coordination between provinces and federal authorities to immunise millions of children and reduce their risks of contracting polio and other diseases. The SHIFT also improves targeted safety net programmes that will benefit 12 million people impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, both at the federal and provincial levels.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk