Since the onset of the covid pandemic, many have been left wondering when the world will return to “normal. With almost three years into Covid, which is showing no sign of abating, the world has accepted the change that came with the pandemic as the “new normal.”
People have adjusted with change, remote working seems to continue, and with the vaccine shots, people have learned to live with covid and returned to “normal” life. As the world returned to normal life, reports regarding the best and the worst cities to live in started coming in. Bloomberg, on February 24, posted an analysis with key differentiators among the best and the worst places during the Covid era.
According to the analysis posted by Bloomberg, the United Arab Emirates topped the board among the 53 economies that were tracked on vaccine doses administered. According to the report, the UAE had a resilience score of 76.2, performed well on maintaining a low case count for the past month, and sustained a low mortality rate since the onset of the pandemic.
Pakistan, however, was ranked as the worst country to be in, which, according to the report, had low inoculations, tight restrictions on unvaccinated people, and a weak healthcare system. Pakistan scored a measly 49.8 on the resilience score and had tighter lockdown severity than the countries which topped the board. Pakistan had a lockdown severity of 65 points, whereas UAE had a lockdown severity of only 44, pointing to considerably weaker restrictions.
Contrary to what Bloomberg has reported, the World Health Organization (WHO) has consistently lauded Pakistan’s strategy to counter the covid pandemic. Pakistan’s efforts gained recognition at the international level when it deployed its infrastructure, built after years of combatting the poliovirus, to combat the covid pandemic. Teams of healthcare workers were deployed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Moreover, Pakistan has a very low mortality rate, complemented by low infection rates. According to World Health Organization, Pakistan has recorded 1.5 million confirmed cases and has recorded ~ 30,153 deaths since the onset of the pandemic. In comparison, countries that scored relatively better in Bloomberg’s report have recorded exponentially more cases and deaths. The United States, for example, has recorded approximately 78 million cases with over 900,000 deaths, yet it scored better on Bloomberg’s report.
Even the WHO Director General (DG) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in curbing the spread of the virus. During the height of the pandemic, when covid was spreading like wildfire, the then SAPM on Health to Prime Minister of Pakistan tweeted that “Pakistan included among seven countries by WHO Director-General countries that the world can learn from about how to fight future pandemics. Great honor for the people of Pakistan. Alhamdolilah.”
<358> Pakistan included among 7 countries by WHO Director General – countries that world can learn from about how to fight future pandemics. Great honor for the people of Pakistan. Alhamdolilah 🙏. https://t.co/33rb8avZA6
— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) September 10, 2020
Pakistan has even recorded a very low positivity rate, with the current positivity rate standing at around 2.3 percent. Although the report rightly points to a lapse in Pakistan’s healthcare system, tactful deployment of its resources made it easier for the country to tackle the covid pandemic.
Pakistan has administered at least 209,438,557 doses of inoculation shots so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 48 percent of the country’s population.
Moreover, restrictions imposed by the government were tight, but they were more targeted. Pakistan was the first country to introduce the concept of “smart lockdown,” where it specifically targeted the areas with high positivity rates with strict lockdown restrictions on movement. This helped reduce the positivity rate of the country without immobilizing entire cities.
Even Bill Gates, who, through his philanthropic efforts has been very connected with Pakistan, in his recent visit to the country hailed Pakistan’s efforts against the Covid-19.