Pakistan on Saturday said it has reported 1,581 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total infections in the country to 38,799 with 834 deaths, the health ministry said. In its latest update, the Ministry of National Health Services said that overall 14,201 cases have so far been detected in Punjab, 14,916 in Sindh, 5,678 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 2,457 in Balochistan, 518 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 921 in Islamabad and 108 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
"A total of 10,880 patients have so far recovered from the coronavirus while the death toll stands at 834 with 31 new deaths reported during the last 24 hours," the ministry said in a statement. The total tests conducted so far were 359,264, including 14,878 test done in the last 24 hours.
While the infections were spreading in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that addressing the financial problems of the poor were as important as containing the virus. Khan has been pushing the provinces to further relax the restrictions. Earlier this week, Pakistan said it was gearing up to resume train services and allow public transport vehicles to operate under strict procedures to prevent any further increase in the coronavirus infections in the country.
Meanwhile, a report by a team of public health specialists associated with the Institute of Public Health at Jinnah Sindh Medical University pointed out that Pakistan missed two critical opportunities that could have placed the country at a better position in its fight against coronavirus.
Titled “Easing Lockdown in Pakistan: Inevitable but Potentially Catastrophic”, the report looks into the country’s response to COVID-19 and its implications in coming weeks and compares it with what has happened in other countries, particularly those which have successfully dealt with the situation, the Dawn newspaper reported.
It pointed out that official indecisiveness led to a delayed and ineffective lockdown with constant increase in cases and the government failed to utilise the period of two-month lockdown for building a policy framework on how to return to normalcy.