Despite ending its lockdown earlier, while Pakistan managed to flatten the Covid-19 curve, many international organisations and publications had termed it a pleasant surprise. Acknowledging Pakistan’s strategy against Corona Al Jazeera reported, “Pakistan wins rare, fragile success against novel coronavirus. South Asian nation of 200 million seems to have won the fight against Covid-19.” “The government of Pakistan reopened the economy in phases and in doing so achieved the impossible by flattening the curve,” hailing Pakistan’s move against the virus in its report The Diplomat – the premier international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region claimed.
By mid-August, the global Covid tally crossed 23 million, with over 810,000 deaths. Pakistan’s numbers remained relatively low, at around 292,000 infections and over 6,200 deaths in a population of 220.4 million. While the world recorded more than 4 million infections and over 200,000 deaths in the past three weeks, Pakistan contributed around 12,000 cases and less than 250 deaths to that tally.
Things are still pretty good in Pakistan as far as the coronavirus situation is concerned, much better than most of the world actually, yet doctors and experts associated with the medical profession have once again warned of a possible second wave of the infection because people are apparently not following necessary SOPs in public. They started getting concerned after seeing the way most people behaved and mingled so openly on Eid, and now fear that the same is going to happen now that devotees are gathering for the holy month of Muharram.
If that is indeed the case and these fears prove true then it would be the greatest shame that the country could bring upon itself. What we have achieved is nothing short of a miracle because there’s hardly any country in the world, including those with much bigger economies and far better technology and infrastructure, that has come out so well form the pandemic and the lockdown. All credit must be given, as fairness demands, to the way the government handled the situation by enforcing smart and limited lockdowns so the economy could function to whatever minimal extent possible. Then, slowly but surely, things started picking up and now we are not just a success case but effectively the envy of the whole world.
There is just too much at stake. First and foremost comes the welfare of the people, of course, but there is a very genuine concern that if there is another sudden outbreak and medical outlets become overwhelmed, even people with ordinary and treatable diseases would be left helpless. Nobody should forget that in the thick of the bad times, when things seemed getting out of control a few months ago, doctors warned of even treatable viruses spreading because of unavailability of doctors as well as vaccines. Then there is the economy to think about. If things get too bad the government would be forced to implement another lockdown that would surely bring the economy right back to its knees. There would be yet more layoffs and a lot more people driven below the poverty line. That all this should happen simply because common people just refuse to follow the most basic safety procedures while they are about their businesses is unacceptable. For all the good things the government has done to combat the virus, its media outreach has left a little something to be desired. A few advertisement campaigns on state TV and radio will only go so far. It must immediately improve its messaging and outreach lest we are forced to face yet another virus invasion.
Things are still pretty good in Pakistan as far as the coronavirus situation is concerned, much better than most of the world actually, yet doctors and experts associated with the medical profession have once again warned of a possible second wave of the infection because people are apparently not following necessary SOPs in public.