–WSJ highlights Pakistan’s success against coronavirus crisis as country records 330 new cases, eight deaths in 24 hours
LAHORE: The number of coronavirus cases and fatalities continues to go down in Pakistan as the country reported eight more deaths in the last 24 hours.
According to the latest figures released by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 330 confirmed Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in 24 hours and eight more deaths were reported due to the virus.
The number of active coronavirus cases in the country stands at 25,172. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 5,984, according to the NCOC.
According to the figures released by the NCOC 2,48,873 coronavirus patients have recovered in the country so far. Pakistan has thus far conducted 20,21,196 coronavirus tests and 11,026 in past 24 hours. A total of 1,595 Covid-19 patients are being treated in 735 hospitals across the country.
1,859 ventilators have been allocated for coronavirus patients and 213 of them getting assistance of ventilators across the country.
WSJ LAUDS PAKISTAN’S SUCCESS:
Meanwhile, a prominent American newspaper reported on Sunday that Pakistan has “dramatically reversed course” of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, with the South Asian nation recording a “sharp decline” in Covid-19 cases and deaths — both of which are down over 80 per cent from their peaks.
“Major hospitals report beds are freeing up in previously overflowing coronavirus wards, even in Pakistan’s biggest and hardest-hit city, Karachi,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said in a report from Islamabad. “The tally of patients on ventilators has halved over the past month,” it adds.
“This is all happening as Pakistan’s neighbours to the east and west — India and Iran — are still reporting that infection rates are climbing steadily,” the WSJ said.
Even more surprising, the report added, was how the progress in Pakistan — where coronavirus was spreading out of control some two months ago — came after Prime Minister Imran Khan resisted the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advice, declaring in May that lockdowns are too costly for the poor and reopening the economy.
Relatively low testing levels in Pakistan have also raised questions about the scale of the decline, the Journal noted, but quoted medical experts as saying that the turnaround trend is clear. Tellingly, the proportion of tests coming back positive has more than halved, it said, citing official figures.
Pakistan locked its economy down in March, early on in its outbreak, which kept the virus from spreading widely while the population stayed home, the WSJ stated. However, after the restrictions were lifted in May, many Pakistanis celebrated the end of the fasting month of Ramzan with shopping sprees and visits to family, unleashing a burst of infections.
The rapid spread jolted people into changing their behavior, with more mask-wearing, hand-washing, and maintaining social distance, Dr Sultan was cited as saying. The preventive messages increased from the government and public service campaigns.
The prime minister also started wearing a mask in public, the report highlighted.
The government switched to a strategy of targeted lockdowns of local areas where a cluster of cases had arisen, sometimes just on one street. Residential data and experience that health officials gained over the past few years as part of a massive push to vaccinate against polio were leveraged to pinpoint trouble spots.
Schools, wedding halls, and restaurants remained closed, it said, adding long-distance travel is still restricted.
From a peak of nearly 7,000 new cases of infection a day in June, 553 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, according to the National command and Operation Centre, country’s Covid-19 nerve centre. Pakistan recorded its lowest death count in four months, with six people succumbing to the virus on Saturday.
“The decline in Pakistan is promising,” Anna Vassall, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, was quoted as saying in the dispatch. “But we are not yet certain as to the cause nor how long it will last. The spread of Covid-19 is driven by social behaviour and it is difficult to measure how that has changed.”