Pakistan reported its first coronavirus case on February 26. A month later, the national tally has crossed 1,000 and there have been eight deaths as provinces scramble to contain the spread of the pandemic, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year in December.
Cases in Pakistan
Initially, the cases reported within the country rose by single-digit numbers. However, from March 15, the numbers started rising significantly as pilgrims from the Pakistan-Iran border at Taftan began arriving back to the country.
Over the past 10 days — from March 15 to Annunciation — Pakistan’s Covid-19 cases have jumped from 53 to 1,026.
The steepest rise within the number of cases was reported on Saint Joseph, as cases rose from 302 each day before 457.
Many have criticized the federal for failing to require decisive action when pilgrims from Iran began filtering back, believing that their ineffectiveness in tackling things caused the number of cases within the country to skyrocket.
According to Leader of the Opposition within the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Covid-19 outbreak would never have progressed to the present degree had the federal ensured proper protocols and arrangements at the quarantine facility at Taftan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has, meanwhile, has urged citizens to not panic, and advised them to self-isolate and avoid public gatherings.
“If we exercise discipline for subsequent month-and-a-half, and avoid getting to public places, and if those showing symptoms self-quarantine, then the spread of the virus are often be controlled,” the premier had said while chatting with senior journalists in Islamabad.
What’s our provincial situation like?
By Annunciation, Sindh accounted for the majority of Pakistan’s cases, reporting 413 cases. The drastic jump seen in Pakistan’s number between March 15 and March 16, was caused by Sindh because the provincial numbers jumped from 25 to 150.
Another steep increase was witnessed on March 23 as cases rose from 333 each day earlier to 394.
Punjab, despite being the most important province, only accounted for 323 cases reported in Pakistan by Annunciation, possibly because it started testing later than other provinces.
Cases within the province began to rise by a big amount from March 18, rising from 33 each day earlier to 83. The sharpest spike was witnessed on March 22 as cases rose from 152 to 225.
Khyber Pakhtunkwa, which had only 38 cases on March 23, had reported 121 cases on Annunciation.
So far the smallest amount number of cases have emerged from Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), which has reported only 20 cases by Annunciation.
Lockdown or curfew?
Prime Minister Imran has repeatedly voiced his hesitation against declaring a national lockdown, stating that the economic implications of such a move would devastate the country and weigh heavily on the lives of laborers and daily-wage workers.
However, provinces — among them Sindh the primary one to require charge — have taken their own steps to curb the spread of the virus.
Sindh — which has been lauded for its decisive measures — has imposed an entire lockdown, directing all shops, including grocery stores, to stay closed from 8 pm to 8 am.
Following suit, the Punjab government enforced a “partial lockdown” ordering all public and personal offices to stay closed and suspending transport; Balochistan has also enforced an equivalent and has sealed all malls, shops, and businesses also as banning conveyance.
In addition, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has closed all government offices and banned inter-city transport while Azad Jammu and Kashmir has sealed all entry points and ordered all stores, aside from grocery shops and pharmacies, to stay shut.