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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Why are COVID-19 cases increasing in Pakistan?

Pakistan has jumped to 113,702 after the detection of record 5,328 new infections in the last 24 hours. The question is; why is COVID-19 spreading in Pakistan? One of the reasons, as pointed out by the WHO, is the premature easing of virus restrictions. Read a detailed story here.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan has jumped to 113,702 after detection of record 5,328 new infections in the last 24 hours, local media reported on Wednesday. Public Health experts in Pakistan and from around the world suggest Pakistan to re-impose lockdown to stop the spread of the virus. Experts are also deliberating over why is COVID-19 spreading in Pakistan.

According to the latest data released by the National Command and Operation Center, the death toll from COVID-19 is currently recorded at 2,255 with 83 more virus-related deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

As per data released by the NCOC, 41,303 cases have been detected in Sindh, 43,460 in Punjab, 14,527 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 7,031 in Balochistan, 5,963 in Islamabad, 444 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 974 in Gilgit Baltistan.

So far 36,308 patients have recovered from coronavirus in the country, while 75,139 are still fighting the deadly virus.

Pakistan carried out 23,799 tests to detect coronavirus in the last 24 hours taking the overall number of the tests in the country to 754,252.

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.

Read More: COVID-19 in Pakistan: Is the government going to re-impose lockdown?

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?

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: COVID-19 cases steadily increasing in Pakistan; experts fear ‘tough time yet to come’

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.”