ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s lockdown has been in place now for over four weeks, with the government having eased some restrictions recently, saying that if a complete lockdown was extended, the poor would be badly affected and there would be mass unemployment.
During this time, all educational institutions remain closed, workplaces switched to working remotely and all non-essential movement was restricted in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus through the local transmission. This had a big impact on mobility trends as observed in a report released by tech giant Google.
In its report, titled Covid-19 Community Mobility Report, Google has analysed movement trends during the lockdown by using location data from smartphone users who had opted to share location history through their Google accounts.
According to Google, the company included data for categories that “would be useful for social distancing efforts as well as access to essential services”. The report used a baseline value — data collected over five weeks from Jan 3 to Feb 6, before the lockdown was enforced.
By comparing mobility during the lockdown to activity during a corresponding day in those five weeks, Google analysed mobility trends for six categories — retail and recreation, grocery and pharmacy, parks, transit stations, workplaces and residential areas.
According to the report, mobility in Pakistan went down by 65 per cent in retail and recreational spots as the lockdown forced all shopping malls, restaurants and cafes to close.
The report revealed that mobility-related to travel and commute such as bus and train stations decreased by 55pc which was not surprising as public transport has been banned during the lockdown and while operations for all passenger trains has been suspended.
Mobility trends for places of work decreased by 48pc as companies switched to working from home.
The report observed that people reduced visits to essential items stores such as grocery shops and pharmacies with the mobility trend decreasing by 47pc.
However, mobility around residential places increased by 19pc as people stayed at home during the government-enforced lockdown.
Pakistan has reported almost 9,600 cases of the coronavirus so far while there have been more than 200 deaths.